March 14, 2014

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:13 am by suebe2

Locomotive by Brian FlocaLocomotive
by Brian Floca
A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers

It was easy to see why this book one with coveted Caldecott Medal.  The Caldecott is given each year by the American Library Association for excellence in illustration.  Page through this book and you will be captured by the detailed paintings that Floca created to illustrate this book.  Slightly sepia in tone, the artwork gives an old-timey feel to the story of one rail journey across the American West, starting in Omaha, Nebraska and chugging its way across country to SanFrancisco, California.

Floca makes no secret of the fact that this journey was easier than when covered wagons followed a similiar route, having to cross miles of desert without a drop of water in sight.  But he doesn’t downplay the dangers of early rail travel either.  Boil a locomotive dry, and it will begin to melt before exploding.  A careless fireman and engineer might forget to watch for signals and fail to slow the train going into a dangerous curve.  Slick rails may need a sprinkling of sand for traction.  Rickety wooden bridges require a creeping slow speed.

Younger readers will love the chugging and hissing of the train throughout the text.  While not poetry, the text has rhythm and wordplay that will make it fun to read aloud.

Older readers will poor over the details in the illustrations.  At approximately 10 1/2 by 12 inches, this book is bigger than many but that gives the illustrations an epic feel and the space to include sweeping panoramas of the western landscape as well as details of the locomotive itself.

Buy this boo for the train enthusiast in your love — young or old, they will relish this journey on one of the first passenger trains to travel the rails that crossed the American West.

–SueBE

 

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