Locomotive ePUB Þ Hardcover

Locomotive ePUB Þ Hardcover


  • Hardcover
  • 64 pages
  • Locomotive
  • Brian Floca
  • English
  • 09 January 2019
  • 1416994157

10 thoughts on “Locomotive

  1. Debbie Debbie says:

    I see why people love Floca s book The illustrations of the trains are terrific As far as train technology goes, it is way cool However, in 2013, couldn t it have been madeinclusive The Chinese laborers, for example, are shown in illustrations twice, but never mentioned in the part that children will read Chinese laborers, some sources say, made up 90 percent of the labor force When celebrations were held on completion of the transcontinental railroad, they were not invited When they I see why people love Floca s book The illustrations of the trains are terrific As far as train technology goes, it is way cool However, in 2013, couldn t it have been madeinclusive The Chinese laborers, for example, are shown in illustrations twice, but never mentioned in the part that children will read Chinese laborers, some sources say, made up 90 percent of the labor force When celebrations were held on completion of the transcontinental railroad, they were not invited When they are mentioned in the author s note in the back, the mention suggests they were simpleminded or superstitious On two pages, Floca references Native tribes, but he doesn t provide any illustrations of them In the author s note he talks about them being resistant to the railroads and to white people coming onto their lands He could have included some of that information in the pages that children will read.Rather than being inclusive of two populations who were key figures in the construction of the railroad, we have a celebratory book that could have done so muchto inform readers about that railroad I have a much longer critique with details at my site you respond to me here by telling me I ought not fault a book for what it does not do, consider the ways change happens in society Women didn t like being narrowly portrayed in children s books They objected, and change happened This is similar to that


  2. Betsy Betsy says:

    Many childhood obsessions come down to sheer scale Whether it s dinosaurs or trucks the modern, smog belching dinosaur equivalent or even princesses adults are large, no matter how you approach them , size matters But the kids who loves trains hold a special place in every children s librarian s heart Train lovers are the nerds of the toddler world They revel in complexity And as with all obsessions, some kids grow out of them and some become evenenthralled What sets Brian Floca s Many childhood obsessions come down to sheer scale Whether it s dinosaurs or trucks the modern, smog belching dinosaur equivalent or even princesses adults are large, no matter how you approach them , size matters But the kids who loves trains hold a special place in every children s librarian s heart Train lovers are the nerds of the toddler world They revel in complexity And as with all obsessions, some kids grow out of them and some become evenenthralled What sets Brian Floca s Locomotive apart from the pack is the simple fact that not only does his book speak to these older children who never quite let go of their love of the choo choo, but there is enough unique text in this book to rope in readers both young and old who ve never given two thoughts to the train phenomenon Couching his unique work of history in a you are there framework, Floca gives context to a slice of American history too often glossed over The results, quite frankly, surpass any nonfiction work for children that has ever dared to try and bring to life the power and grandeur of the railroad system Here is a road made for crossing the country, a new road of rails made for people to ride As we read these words we are standing in the center of some railroad tracks staring on a beautiful sunny day at the horizon where they disappear A couple pages cover the creation of those tracks that were part of the transcontinental railway system, and then we meet our average family In Omaha, Nebraska, 1869, a family waits for their train When at last it arrives they board, bound for San Francisco From here, Floca takes you through every step of this trip He introduces people like the brakemen or the conductor He discusses what makes the train run and the places you pass along the way Everything from toilets and food to sleeping arrangements and rickety bridges are discussed By the end the family arrives in one piece in San Francisco, grateful to the train but relieved to be off it onceBackmatter includes an extensive Note on the Locomotive as well as a useful listing of various sources I suspect that on a first glance Locomotive appears to be intimidating Not just in terms of the scope of the outing but also the fact that when you first lift the cover you are presented with two packed pages of information and those are just the endpapers Before your beamish eyes is a map of where the Pacific Railroad ran in 1869, some post Civil War context, and background on the golden spike Lift the bookflap and you ll discover an ad for the railroad Floca is always very careful to completely cover this area of the book, just in case libraries glue that flap down You would be forgiven for thinking that the back endpapers of the book would be a replicate of the front endpapersand you would be wholly and entirely wrong At the end you ll find an in depth explanation of what it is that makes the steam train go Written sections and diagrams galore If there is a downside to all this it would have to be the fact that for the skittish, these endpapers seem to make the book seem too old for them One hopes that they ll flip another page or two and see that, in fact, Floca has taken pains to write in a simple style that can be appreciated by young and old alike Maybe the title page with its family photograph and telegram from a father urging his family to come west will properly set the stage for the story to come I stare at one picture in this book in particular It s not the most awe inspiring shot you ll find in Locomotive Most people will probably pass it by without a second thought, but I can t stop looking at it It s an image over the shoulder of either the fireman or the engineer past the engine, down the tracks You re behind the man and you can see the soft fold of his ear and the tiny hairs all along his jaw line, throat and cheek It s remarkably intimate, but just one of countless beautiful images spotted throughout the book Floca has always played with his watercolors, inks, acrylics, and gouache like a master, and what he has done here is not all that different from what he did in his previous book Moonshot In that title, Floca was going for awe Indeed, he is probably one of the very few nonfiction artists I know of that even dares to attempt to inspire awe in his readership For Moonshot the feeling came from witnessing not just the moon and the earth from space, but the accomplishments of the people who sent the first humans there In Locomotive, Floca replicates both the wonder felt at seeing the trains in all their glory, as well as the awe deserved of those men who built it in the first place Recently I heard someone comment that though Brian Floca is appreciated as a master of the watercolor form, he has never been fully appreciated as a writer That s the long and the short of it all right From the start of this book Floca has the wherewithal to put his tale in true context The first people you see in the book are the Chinese workers who helped build the tracks from the East On the opposite page the Irish and African Americans who built it from the west and you re a better man than I if you can keep yourself from thinking about scenes from Blazing Saddles at this time He takes care to note the different ethnicities that were responsible for the transcontinental railroad s creation as well as the people it displaced along the way As you read you can t help but taste some of his words across your tongue He didn t have to fill his book with delicious turns of phrase The fact that he did is part of what sets this book above its kin For example, Hear the clear, hard call of her bell CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG Hear the HISSSSSSSSS and the SPIT of the steam Hear the engine breathe like a beast HUFF HUFF HUFF As odd as it sounds, Floca has created an older nonfiction readaloud picture book for large groups or one on one reads Note too how for all its length, Floca has synthesized the experience of the ride of this train down to its most essential parts It s not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, but I am rather interested in a narrative nonfiction technique that Floca uses here that has really taken off lately Thanks to the rise of the Core Curriculum there s this increase of interest in creating interesting nonfiction One surefire way of getting the job done Pull the old You Are There trick This allows the author the freedom of fiction writing within the confines of pure unadulterated fact Recent examples include Ick Yuck Eew Our Gross American History and You Are the First Kid On Mars to name but a few Floca did something similar when he wrote Moonshot a couple years ago, but Locomotive takes the format to a whole new level We are with the kids every step of the journey, but since the children themselves aren t real doesn t that make the book fiction Not a jot Because the kiddos are average travelers and because they haven t names or identities, they re representative of the whole Even better, the book doesn t say what they do or they see but rather directs its instructions and information at you the reader They are you, you are them, and that makes the whole journey a lotinteresting than it would if you were simply thrown a series of dull, dry facts There is only one objection that can seriously be lobbed at Locomotive at this time I am referring, of course, to its size We live in an era where there is an understood and prescribed number of pages for every book we read Picture books, whether they be fiction or nonfiction, are expected to be 32 pages, 48 at the most Locomotive clocks in instead at a whopping 64 in total Could it have been reduced and cut Certainly A buzz saw could have cut through the descriptions and facts It s just that the feel of truly riding on this train and experiencing not just the smells, sights, and sleepless nights of the journey, but also the sheer amount of time it truly used to take the trek across a couple states, would have been gone There is a method to Floca s madness He s not being loquacious out of sheer indulgence He s cultivating a reading experience above and beyond anything else out there So the second person narrative works in tandem with the number of pages, with the final result that if nothing else a kid is going to look up from this book at the end and understand, maybe for the first time, that just because we can run a girdle around the globe now, time was that a man, woman, or child couldn t just jet set across large swaths of land without ending up a different person on the other side I don t particularly care for trains Don t think about them much either In the 21st century a person could be forgiven for going years without the wisp of a thought of a train ever entering their consciousness But even as a train neutral adult I cannot help but find myself caught up in Floca s enthusiasm when I read this book The transcontinental express changed everything for America, and yet, until now, it has never been properly lauded in a book for children large and small Locomotive fulfills that need, and then goes above and beyond the call of duty to give its readers the thrill of being there themselves Would that all works recounting history could be imbued with Floca s wit and sense and scale It s a big, long, dense book and frankly after reading it you won t have it any other way Ride the rails.For ages 4 and up


  3. Calista Calista says:

    Taking a train from East to West and how the country was connected This is very much about the history of our country and how important trains used to be It was a trip of a lifetime I assume This is very well done, great artwork, nice historical touches It was a bit long The kids seemed to lose interest as the story wore on.


  4. Manybooks Manybooks says:

    As a narrative in and of itself, Brian Floca s Locomotive for all intents and purposes and in general does present and depict a truly wonderful and expressive marriage of text and images and is thus also and certainly athan worthy recipient of the 2014 Caldecott Medal , glowingly and intensely, engagingly showing the excitement and eager anticipation of the first transcontinental USA railways, of finally being able to travel in relative comfort and ease by train across the vast stretches As a narrative in and of itself, Brian Floca s Locomotive for all intents and purposes and in general does present and depict a truly wonderful and expressive marriage of text and images and is thus also and certainly athan worthy recipient of the 2014 Caldecott Medal , glowingly and intensely, engagingly showing the excitement and eager anticipation of the first transcontinental USA railways, of finally being able to travel in relative comfort and ease by train across the vast stretches of the American landscape, which previously one could only do and achieve with and by covered wagons, stagecoaches, on horseback, and yes, even via ship going all the way around the tip of South America to reach the West Coast of the United States from the East Coast And as a fan of onomatopoeic texts and verses, I really do so much love love love how the sounds of the locomotive, its hissing, spitting, the black smoke it emits are rendered by author illustrator Brian Floca not only visually illustratively but also textually, how pictures and words both compliment and complement each other and how sometimes, the illustrations even expand on the narrative with little added touches, such as for example, the shying horse that dumps its rider and takes off in fear as the locomotive approaches, a much understandable equine reaction in fact, as horses are notoriously easy to spook, and the locomotives of the past supposedly truly were generally described as loudly hissing entities, as gigantic beings of noise and might.Now all the above having been said, and my general appreciation of Locomotive quite notwithstanding, I do find itthan a trifle troubling and worrisome that the disappearance of the vast buffalo bison herds of the American plains and what happened to the Cheyenne and other native American tribes the Indian Removal Acts, the basically government sanctioned genocides are simply and rather haphazardly casually alluded to at best and almost at least in my humble opinion presented as being not so much tragedies, not blameworthy and intensely historically problematic occurrences but seemingly seen as a necessary and acceptable result and cost of progress And further, it is also and again in my opinion never really sufficiently pointed out either within the text or via the accompanying illustrations that the construction of, that the building of in particular the railways tracks was dangerous and often backbreaking work, that accidents happened, that many workers were injured and often even killed for it does seem and a bit unfortunately so that Brian Floca isinterested in and intent on demonstrating and showing the added comfort and convenience of travelling, of finally being able to travel across the United States by train than to also point out and in any even small detail, thenegative aspects of what especially the building of the railway lines and tracks had wrought Still, I would recommend Locomotive, although I would also most strongly suggest that issues such as the disappearance of the buffaloes, the forcible and generally cruel, horrid and sadly tragic removals of Native American tribes from their ancestral lands, the dangers faced by the workers constructing and building the railroad tracks really do need to be discussed and with considerablydetail than Brian Floca has detailed in Locomotive.And now finally, while I personally have read Locomotive as a Kindle download, as my local library had a simply massively long waiting list and it would likely have taken months for Locomotive to have become available , I certainly do NOT AT ALL suggest reading this as en e book for while the illustrations have survived the transfer of Locomotive to a Kindle format well enough and generally intact, the words, the printed text, they are so minuscule that reading with any kind of comfort even wearing glasses has been pretty well impossible Two and a half stars, grudgingly rounded up to three stars, as even with my issues concerning the narrative of Locomotive, I have truly loved the illustrations but while much of the presented text is readable and engaging, what has not been stated, what has been left out by Brian Floca, really does make me cringe and leaves rather a bit to be desired, as with a book on trains published in the 21st century, surely the author can and should beinclusive and realise that while the construction and use of railroads in the USA was a boon to many and definitely progress, it also had a nasty undercurrent that really should never be forgotten, that must be remembered


  5. Jim Erekson Jim Erekson says:

    This is the first in a pile Lu Benke supplied me of 2014 Caldecott hopefuls As a history book well sourced , I couldn t help but compare it to Yin Sontpiet s Coolies which did so much to complicate the story of the transcontinental railroad with underlying cruelties and injustices of labor Locomotive did absolutely none of that In a day when we have access to so many historical tools and lenses, all this book did was celebrate the ride There are so many tools writers have to present compl This is the first in a pile Lu Benke supplied me of 2014 Caldecott hopefuls As a history book well sourced , I couldn t help but compare it to Yin Sontpiet s Coolies which did so much to complicate the story of the transcontinental railroad with underlying cruelties and injustices of labor Locomotive did absolutely none of that In a day when we have access to so many historical tools and lenses, all this book did was celebrate the ride There are so many tools writers have to present complicated visual and text narratives I was disappointed even though this book used a variety of visual techniques, none of them were used to create various paths for the narrative to take Floca hinted at the possibility with one small mention of the buffalo and Indians But with no treatment he let this thread go You don t have to villify America to call into question the ugliness that accompanied the great achievements We have to continue to own these difficulties, or else we learn nothing from history Bolden s Emancipation Proclamation was very good at challenging the mythology without oversimplifying it into villainy Otherwise Floca and the editorial team pulled out all the stops it was a beautiful visual book Floca s mastery of watercolor is obvious, and he shows this by presenting a variety of different kinds of images in a believable palette This is why I rated 3 instead of 2 No designer was credited, which is unfortunate, because it makes me think Floca did all that work This is possible but shouldn t be in question on a book with this high production quality The story was clear and the facts and point of view of taking an early ride were interesting enough that I didn t think it was a waste of time an enjoyable picturebook But for a work of history to be in contention for Caldecott or Newbery it should doto provide alternate readings In fact, the standard of which books should make it into hard cover, full color process is always a looming question I don t think 2nd and 3rd rate books should even go to paper printing in our day and age we should really push on the market so that only the best books get put to paper and all the rest can go to e devices


  6. Josiah Josiah says:

    Artistically, it isn t hard to see why Locomotive won the 2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal as the year s most distinguished American picture book for children Brian Floca s drawings for the book border on all time spectacular here and there the closeup blur of the speeding train as it whooshes down the track the smear of Western scenery meandering by on the horizon as the iron horse chugs along from coast to coast the dizzying height of the train s route while it negotiates gorges spanned by Artistically, it isn t hard to see why Locomotive won the 2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal as the year s most distinguished American picture book for children Brian Floca s drawings for the book border on all time spectacular here and there the closeup blur of the speeding train as it whooshes down the track the smear of Western scenery meandering by on the horizon as the iron horse chugs along from coast to coast the dizzying height of the train s route while it negotiates gorges spanned by trestles, built using unimaginable hours of man labor over a seven year period Locomotive s illustrations are something special, and the narrative is historically reliable nonfiction for the youth set, not a jot or tittle out of place from start to finish If you want a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices required to connect our land from California to Massachusetts in nineteenth century America, or the miracle it was to actually complete the project and unite our states once and for all, Locomotive is your book I doubt many selections would do the job better Our story commences with a boy and his family hopping aboard a railway car in Omaha, Nebraska, headed for their new home in San Francisco, California The noise and hullabaloo surrounding the incoming train is nearly overwhelming, and once onboard, the scenery whizzes by at speeds of which covered wagon settlers could have only dreamed The hearty steam engine pulls its full load of passengers across state lines and up mountain ridges, over plain, prairie, and canyon It s still only 1869, the first year the train ran from coast to coast, but necessity has spurred some clever inventiveness by track builders and engineers, whether it s blasting routes through solid mountain or strategically adding and removing extra train engines when the terrain demands it The reward for days of constant train travel is arrival at our destination right on time, and a small place in the annals of American history Travel would never be the same again What s important to remember when reading Locomotive is how dramatically the advent of the transcontinental railroad shrank our nation In pioneer times, the same trip that now took a mere four days was a harrowing, deadly trek that meant months of travel through nature s caustic elements People often died of disease, starvation, exposure, and exhaustion, dreams of settling a new region in our great land dashed by the cruelty of the grave But it was these sacrifices by pioneers that gradually led to the U.S being populated from one end to the other, allowing industrious problem solvers to conceive of and eventually implement the transcontinental railroad Homage to the contribution of our pioneers is given in a few places in Locomotive, such as the following Think of those who came before, who crossed in covered wagons, traveling foot by foot, under the beating sun, no water worth drinking for mile after mile Their willingness to lose their lives and the lives of their precious children to help colonize America is indirectly responsible for the comforts of generations a hundred years later and beyond, and should always be respected and admired By the conclusion of its cross country train voyage, Locomotive has assisted in furthering that goal A far cry aesthetically from Brian Floca s Moonshot, Locomotive is a successful literary analysis of American culture and engineering, a fine tribute to the brilliance of our forefathers without glamorizing certain questionable elements of the railroad s history As a nonfiction picture book, Locomotive is a valuable teaching tool as well as an evocative read, and I d probably rate it two and a half stars My 2014 Caldecott Medal would have gone to Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg s enormously moving Snowflakes Fall, but I can t argue too much with the committee s decision to award it to the excellent artwork of Locomotive It brings back the excitement of life in the American West for all who love those stories, and I m positive it will continue doing so for years to come


  7. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    I ve never been a fan of trains, but this points out why they re such an important part of our history, and why everyone should visit a railroad museum at least once in their lives Here in Carson City we ve a pretty good one, and there are rides on holidays including a Santa Train.It s a long book, and I did not read every word, especially the notes It sabout riding the train, taking the trip that is so muchcomfortable and fast than the covered wagons journeys that had been th I ve never been a fan of trains, but this points out why they re such an important part of our history, and why everyone should visit a railroad museum at least once in their lives Here in Carson City we ve a pretty good one, and there are rides on holidays including a Santa Train.It s a long book, and I did not read every word, especially the notes It sabout riding the train, taking the trip that is so muchcomfortable and fast than the covered wagons journeys that had been the way pioneer families moved west It s less about building the transcontinental tracks, which is fine, because there are already lots of good books about that, for example the stunning Coolies I did learn one thing, though the meet at Promontory Summit was not planned, as it could have been anywhere, because the two companies were racing to claim as much of the land, funding, and route as possible


  8. Mir Mir says:

    I m not the target audience for this I m not very interested in trains, yet already knew all the basic information and history covered here probably because they were important to California history I m not a child, and even when I was I wasn t a big reader of this sort of informative non fiction When I did read non fiction it was usually about mythology or animals I m also not usually a fan of the format with words in funny fonts or speech bubbles in illustrations, because for me they bre I m not the target audience for this I m not very interested in trains, yet already knew all the basic information and history covered here probably because they were important to California history I m not a child, and even when I was I wasn t a big reader of this sort of informative non fiction When I did read non fiction it was usually about mythology or animals I m also not usually a fan of the format with words in funny fonts or speech bubbles in illustrations, because for me they break the illusion of the visual But if you do like this technique, it is well done here.Recommended for elementary schoolers who are into planes and trains and things that go, or history and geography Fact over story kids


  9. Jessica Jessica says:

    Hm So this is the Caldecott winner from 2013, and I admit that the pictures are amazing The book is amazing, too, packed with information about traveling across the country by steam train just after the joining of the two great railroads The format is excellent, and the information is presented in a fun way But my personal criteria for picture books is that you should be able to read them to children who can t read themselves, and in that respect this book did not wow me Or my two youngest Hm So this is the Caldecott winner from 2013, and I admit that the pictures are amazing The book is amazing, too, packed with information about traveling across the country by steam train just after the joining of the two great railroads The format is excellent, and the information is presented in a fun way But my personal criteria for picture books is that you should be able to read them to children who can t read themselves, and in that respect this book did not wow me Or my two youngest My toddler loved the pictures, but there were too many words and they were way beyond his comprehension My 5yo could have comprehended it, but she lost interested after only a page The book is appealing to my 9yo, but for his age and reading level it was almost too simplified That s the trouble with older skewing picture books, I think finding the balance between the babies and the big kids, and figuring out how to talk to them


  10. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Wow It took me forever to make myself read this because it was always longer than I expected, but I m so glad I did What an inspiring journey on an early train I actually choked up at the page turn onto the Great Plains, with its sudden double page spread and tiny train Here the bison used to roam, by the hundreds, by the millions And when night falls Through the night the engine runs.Those up late hear her whistle,her wild and lonesome cry.It echoes on far hills and homes, it sounds in Wow It took me forever to make myself read this because it was always longer than I expected, but I m so glad I did What an inspiring journey on an early train I actually choked up at the page turn onto the Great Plains, with its sudden double page spread and tiny train Here the bison used to roam, by the hundreds, by the millions And when night falls Through the night the engine runs.Those up late hear her whistle,her wild and lonesome cry.It echoes on far hills and homes, it sounds in distant dreams I know this won the Caldecott, and the illustrations are stunningly detailed antlers on the front of the engine , but the writing is beautiful as well This may also be the only case where I agree with changing fonts within a story it works here Worth a read for its vivid slice of American history Includes author s note and Sources


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Locomotive[Ebook] ➫ Locomotive ➪ Brian Floca – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk It is the summer of , and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America s brand new transcontinental railroad These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, spe It is the summer of , and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America s brand new transcontinental railroad These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty Locomotives the work that keeps them moving and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.


About the Author: Brian Floca

Brian Floca is the author illustrator of the Caldecott Medal winner Locomotive, the Robert F Sibert Honor books Moonshot and Lightship, and other picture books, and is the illustrator of manybooks for young readers Brian Floca lives and works in Brooklyn.


10 thoughts on “Locomotive

  1. Debbie Debbie says:

    I see why people love Floca s book The illustrations of the trains are terrific As far as train technology goes, it is way cool However, in 2013, couldn t it have been madeinclusive The Chinese laborers, for example, are shown in illustrations twice, but never mentioned in the part that children will read Chinese laborers, some sources say, made up 90 percent of the labor force When celebrations were held on completion of the transcontinental railroad, they were not invited When they I see why people love Floca s book The illustrations of the trains are terrific As far as train technology goes, it is way cool However, in 2013, couldn t it have been madeinclusive The Chinese laborers, for example, are shown in illustrations twice, but never mentioned in the part that children will read Chinese laborers, some sources say, made up 90 percent of the labor force When celebrations were held on completion of the transcontinental railroad, they were not invited When they are mentioned in the author s note in the back, the mention suggests they were simpleminded or superstitious On two pages, Floca references Native tribes, but he doesn t provide any illustrations of them In the author s note he talks about them being resistant to the railroads and to white people coming onto their lands He could have included some of that information in the pages that children will read.Rather than being inclusive of two populations who were key figures in the construction of the railroad, we have a celebratory book that could have done so muchto inform readers about that railroad I have a much longer critique with details at my site you respond to me here by telling me I ought not fault a book for what it does not do, consider the ways change happens in society Women didn t like being narrowly portrayed in children s books They objected, and change happened This is similar to that

  2. Betsy Betsy says:

    Many childhood obsessions come down to sheer scale Whether it s dinosaurs or trucks the modern, smog belching dinosaur equivalent or even princesses adults are large, no matter how you approach them , size matters But the kids who loves trains hold a special place in every children s librarian s heart Train lovers are the nerds of the toddler world They revel in complexity And as with all obsessions, some kids grow out of them and some become evenenthralled What sets Brian Floca s Many childhood obsessions come down to sheer scale Whether it s dinosaurs or trucks the modern, smog belching dinosaur equivalent or even princesses adults are large, no matter how you approach them , size matters But the kids who loves trains hold a special place in every children s librarian s heart Train lovers are the nerds of the toddler world They revel in complexity And as with all obsessions, some kids grow out of them and some become evenenthralled What sets Brian Floca s Locomotive apart from the pack is the simple fact that not only does his book speak to these older children who never quite let go of their love of the choo choo, but there is enough unique text in this book to rope in readers both young and old who ve never given two thoughts to the train phenomenon Couching his unique work of history in a you are there framework, Floca gives context to a slice of American history too often glossed over The results, quite frankly, surpass any nonfiction work for children that has ever dared to try and bring to life the power and grandeur of the railroad system Here is a road made for crossing the country, a new road of rails made for people to ride As we read these words we are standing in the center of some railroad tracks staring on a beautiful sunny day at the horizon where they disappear A couple pages cover the creation of those tracks that were part of the transcontinental railway system, and then we meet our average family In Omaha, Nebraska, 1869, a family waits for their train When at last it arrives they board, bound for San Francisco From here, Floca takes you through every step of this trip He introduces people like the brakemen or the conductor He discusses what makes the train run and the places you pass along the way Everything from toilets and food to sleeping arrangements and rickety bridges are discussed By the end the family arrives in one piece in San Francisco, grateful to the train but relieved to be off it onceBackmatter includes an extensive Note on the Locomotive as well as a useful listing of various sources I suspect that on a first glance Locomotive appears to be intimidating Not just in terms of the scope of the outing but also the fact that when you first lift the cover you are presented with two packed pages of information and those are just the endpapers Before your beamish eyes is a map of where the Pacific Railroad ran in 1869, some post Civil War context, and background on the golden spike Lift the bookflap and you ll discover an ad for the railroad Floca is always very careful to completely cover this area of the book, just in case libraries glue that flap down You would be forgiven for thinking that the back endpapers of the book would be a replicate of the front endpapersand you would be wholly and entirely wrong At the end you ll find an in depth explanation of what it is that makes the steam train go Written sections and diagrams galore If there is a downside to all this it would have to be the fact that for the skittish, these endpapers seem to make the book seem too old for them One hopes that they ll flip another page or two and see that, in fact, Floca has taken pains to write in a simple style that can be appreciated by young and old alike Maybe the title page with its family photograph and telegram from a father urging his family to come west will properly set the stage for the story to come I stare at one picture in this book in particular It s not the most awe inspiring shot you ll find in Locomotive Most people will probably pass it by without a second thought, but I can t stop looking at it It s an image over the shoulder of either the fireman or the engineer past the engine, down the tracks You re behind the man and you can see the soft fold of his ear and the tiny hairs all along his jaw line, throat and cheek It s remarkably intimate, but just one of countless beautiful images spotted throughout the book Floca has always played with his watercolors, inks, acrylics, and gouache like a master, and what he has done here is not all that different from what he did in his previous book Moonshot In that title, Floca was going for awe Indeed, he is probably one of the very few nonfiction artists I know of that even dares to attempt to inspire awe in his readership For Moonshot the feeling came from witnessing not just the moon and the earth from space, but the accomplishments of the people who sent the first humans there In Locomotive, Floca replicates both the wonder felt at seeing the trains in all their glory, as well as the awe deserved of those men who built it in the first place Recently I heard someone comment that though Brian Floca is appreciated as a master of the watercolor form, he has never been fully appreciated as a writer That s the long and the short of it all right From the start of this book Floca has the wherewithal to put his tale in true context The first people you see in the book are the Chinese workers who helped build the tracks from the East On the opposite page the Irish and African Americans who built it from the west and you re a better man than I if you can keep yourself from thinking about scenes from Blazing Saddles at this time He takes care to note the different ethnicities that were responsible for the transcontinental railroad s creation as well as the people it displaced along the way As you read you can t help but taste some of his words across your tongue He didn t have to fill his book with delicious turns of phrase The fact that he did is part of what sets this book above its kin For example, Hear the clear, hard call of her bell CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG Hear the HISSSSSSSSS and the SPIT of the steam Hear the engine breathe like a beast HUFF HUFF HUFF As odd as it sounds, Floca has created an older nonfiction readaloud picture book for large groups or one on one reads Note too how for all its length, Floca has synthesized the experience of the ride of this train down to its most essential parts It s not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, but I am rather interested in a narrative nonfiction technique that Floca uses here that has really taken off lately Thanks to the rise of the Core Curriculum there s this increase of interest in creating interesting nonfiction One surefire way of getting the job done Pull the old You Are There trick This allows the author the freedom of fiction writing within the confines of pure unadulterated fact Recent examples include Ick Yuck Eew Our Gross American History and You Are the First Kid On Mars to name but a few Floca did something similar when he wrote Moonshot a couple years ago, but Locomotive takes the format to a whole new level We are with the kids every step of the journey, but since the children themselves aren t real doesn t that make the book fiction Not a jot Because the kiddos are average travelers and because they haven t names or identities, they re representative of the whole Even better, the book doesn t say what they do or they see but rather directs its instructions and information at you the reader They are you, you are them, and that makes the whole journey a lotinteresting than it would if you were simply thrown a series of dull, dry facts There is only one objection that can seriously be lobbed at Locomotive at this time I am referring, of course, to its size We live in an era where there is an understood and prescribed number of pages for every book we read Picture books, whether they be fiction or nonfiction, are expected to be 32 pages, 48 at the most Locomotive clocks in instead at a whopping 64 in total Could it have been reduced and cut Certainly A buzz saw could have cut through the descriptions and facts It s just that the feel of truly riding on this train and experiencing not just the smells, sights, and sleepless nights of the journey, but also the sheer amount of time it truly used to take the trek across a couple states, would have been gone There is a method to Floca s madness He s not being loquacious out of sheer indulgence He s cultivating a reading experience above and beyond anything else out there So the second person narrative works in tandem with the number of pages, with the final result that if nothing else a kid is going to look up from this book at the end and understand, maybe for the first time, that just because we can run a girdle around the globe now, time was that a man, woman, or child couldn t just jet set across large swaths of land without ending up a different person on the other side I don t particularly care for trains Don t think about them much either In the 21st century a person could be forgiven for going years without the wisp of a thought of a train ever entering their consciousness But even as a train neutral adult I cannot help but find myself caught up in Floca s enthusiasm when I read this book The transcontinental express changed everything for America, and yet, until now, it has never been properly lauded in a book for children large and small Locomotive fulfills that need, and then goes above and beyond the call of duty to give its readers the thrill of being there themselves Would that all works recounting history could be imbued with Floca s wit and sense and scale It s a big, long, dense book and frankly after reading it you won t have it any other way Ride the rails.For ages 4 and up

  3. Calista Calista says:

    Taking a train from East to West and how the country was connected This is very much about the history of our country and how important trains used to be It was a trip of a lifetime I assume This is very well done, great artwork, nice historical touches It was a bit long The kids seemed to lose interest as the story wore on.

  4. Manybooks Manybooks says:

    As a narrative in and of itself, Brian Floca s Locomotive for all intents and purposes and in general does present and depict a truly wonderful and expressive marriage of text and images and is thus also and certainly athan worthy recipient of the 2014 Caldecott Medal , glowingly and intensely, engagingly showing the excitement and eager anticipation of the first transcontinental USA railways, of finally being able to travel in relative comfort and ease by train across the vast stretches As a narrative in and of itself, Brian Floca s Locomotive for all intents and purposes and in general does present and depict a truly wonderful and expressive marriage of text and images and is thus also and certainly athan worthy recipient of the 2014 Caldecott Medal , glowingly and intensely, engagingly showing the excitement and eager anticipation of the first transcontinental USA railways, of finally being able to travel in relative comfort and ease by train across the vast stretches of the American landscape, which previously one could only do and achieve with and by covered wagons, stagecoaches, on horseback, and yes, even via ship going all the way around the tip of South America to reach the West Coast of the United States from the East Coast And as a fan of onomatopoeic texts and verses, I really do so much love love love how the sounds of the locomotive, its hissing, spitting, the black smoke it emits are rendered by author illustrator Brian Floca not only visually illustratively but also textually, how pictures and words both compliment and complement each other and how sometimes, the illustrations even expand on the narrative with little added touches, such as for example, the shying horse that dumps its rider and takes off in fear as the locomotive approaches, a much understandable equine reaction in fact, as horses are notoriously easy to spook, and the locomotives of the past supposedly truly were generally described as loudly hissing entities, as gigantic beings of noise and might.Now all the above having been said, and my general appreciation of Locomotive quite notwithstanding, I do find itthan a trifle troubling and worrisome that the disappearance of the vast buffalo bison herds of the American plains and what happened to the Cheyenne and other native American tribes the Indian Removal Acts, the basically government sanctioned genocides are simply and rather haphazardly casually alluded to at best and almost at least in my humble opinion presented as being not so much tragedies, not blameworthy and intensely historically problematic occurrences but seemingly seen as a necessary and acceptable result and cost of progress And further, it is also and again in my opinion never really sufficiently pointed out either within the text or via the accompanying illustrations that the construction of, that the building of in particular the railways tracks was dangerous and often backbreaking work, that accidents happened, that many workers were injured and often even killed for it does seem and a bit unfortunately so that Brian Floca isinterested in and intent on demonstrating and showing the added comfort and convenience of travelling, of finally being able to travel across the United States by train than to also point out and in any even small detail, thenegative aspects of what especially the building of the railway lines and tracks had wrought Still, I would recommend Locomotive, although I would also most strongly suggest that issues such as the disappearance of the buffaloes, the forcible and generally cruel, horrid and sadly tragic removals of Native American tribes from their ancestral lands, the dangers faced by the workers constructing and building the railroad tracks really do need to be discussed and with considerablydetail than Brian Floca has detailed in Locomotive.And now finally, while I personally have read Locomotive as a Kindle download, as my local library had a simply massively long waiting list and it would likely have taken months for Locomotive to have become available , I certainly do NOT AT ALL suggest reading this as en e book for while the illustrations have survived the transfer of Locomotive to a Kindle format well enough and generally intact, the words, the printed text, they are so minuscule that reading with any kind of comfort even wearing glasses has been pretty well impossible Two and a half stars, grudgingly rounded up to three stars, as even with my issues concerning the narrative of Locomotive, I have truly loved the illustrations but while much of the presented text is readable and engaging, what has not been stated, what has been left out by Brian Floca, really does make me cringe and leaves rather a bit to be desired, as with a book on trains published in the 21st century, surely the author can and should beinclusive and realise that while the construction and use of railroads in the USA was a boon to many and definitely progress, it also had a nasty undercurrent that really should never be forgotten, that must be remembered

  5. Jim Erekson Jim Erekson says:

    This is the first in a pile Lu Benke supplied me of 2014 Caldecott hopefuls As a history book well sourced , I couldn t help but compare it to Yin Sontpiet s Coolies which did so much to complicate the story of the transcontinental railroad with underlying cruelties and injustices of labor Locomotive did absolutely none of that In a day when we have access to so many historical tools and lenses, all this book did was celebrate the ride There are so many tools writers have to present compl This is the first in a pile Lu Benke supplied me of 2014 Caldecott hopefuls As a history book well sourced , I couldn t help but compare it to Yin Sontpiet s Coolies which did so much to complicate the story of the transcontinental railroad with underlying cruelties and injustices of labor Locomotive did absolutely none of that In a day when we have access to so many historical tools and lenses, all this book did was celebrate the ride There are so many tools writers have to present complicated visual and text narratives I was disappointed even though this book used a variety of visual techniques, none of them were used to create various paths for the narrative to take Floca hinted at the possibility with one small mention of the buffalo and Indians But with no treatment he let this thread go You don t have to villify America to call into question the ugliness that accompanied the great achievements We have to continue to own these difficulties, or else we learn nothing from history Bolden s Emancipation Proclamation was very good at challenging the mythology without oversimplifying it into villainy Otherwise Floca and the editorial team pulled out all the stops it was a beautiful visual book Floca s mastery of watercolor is obvious, and he shows this by presenting a variety of different kinds of images in a believable palette This is why I rated 3 instead of 2 No designer was credited, which is unfortunate, because it makes me think Floca did all that work This is possible but shouldn t be in question on a book with this high production quality The story was clear and the facts and point of view of taking an early ride were interesting enough that I didn t think it was a waste of time an enjoyable picturebook But for a work of history to be in contention for Caldecott or Newbery it should doto provide alternate readings In fact, the standard of which books should make it into hard cover, full color process is always a looming question I don t think 2nd and 3rd rate books should even go to paper printing in our day and age we should really push on the market so that only the best books get put to paper and all the rest can go to e devices

  6. Josiah Josiah says:

    Artistically, it isn t hard to see why Locomotive won the 2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal as the year s most distinguished American picture book for children Brian Floca s drawings for the book border on all time spectacular here and there the closeup blur of the speeding train as it whooshes down the track the smear of Western scenery meandering by on the horizon as the iron horse chugs along from coast to coast the dizzying height of the train s route while it negotiates gorges spanned by Artistically, it isn t hard to see why Locomotive won the 2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal as the year s most distinguished American picture book for children Brian Floca s drawings for the book border on all time spectacular here and there the closeup blur of the speeding train as it whooshes down the track the smear of Western scenery meandering by on the horizon as the iron horse chugs along from coast to coast the dizzying height of the train s route while it negotiates gorges spanned by trestles, built using unimaginable hours of man labor over a seven year period Locomotive s illustrations are something special, and the narrative is historically reliable nonfiction for the youth set, not a jot or tittle out of place from start to finish If you want a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices required to connect our land from California to Massachusetts in nineteenth century America, or the miracle it was to actually complete the project and unite our states once and for all, Locomotive is your book I doubt many selections would do the job better Our story commences with a boy and his family hopping aboard a railway car in Omaha, Nebraska, headed for their new home in San Francisco, California The noise and hullabaloo surrounding the incoming train is nearly overwhelming, and once onboard, the scenery whizzes by at speeds of which covered wagon settlers could have only dreamed The hearty steam engine pulls its full load of passengers across state lines and up mountain ridges, over plain, prairie, and canyon It s still only 1869, the first year the train ran from coast to coast, but necessity has spurred some clever inventiveness by track builders and engineers, whether it s blasting routes through solid mountain or strategically adding and removing extra train engines when the terrain demands it The reward for days of constant train travel is arrival at our destination right on time, and a small place in the annals of American history Travel would never be the same again What s important to remember when reading Locomotive is how dramatically the advent of the transcontinental railroad shrank our nation In pioneer times, the same trip that now took a mere four days was a harrowing, deadly trek that meant months of travel through nature s caustic elements People often died of disease, starvation, exposure, and exhaustion, dreams of settling a new region in our great land dashed by the cruelty of the grave But it was these sacrifices by pioneers that gradually led to the U.S being populated from one end to the other, allowing industrious problem solvers to conceive of and eventually implement the transcontinental railroad Homage to the contribution of our pioneers is given in a few places in Locomotive, such as the following Think of those who came before, who crossed in covered wagons, traveling foot by foot, under the beating sun, no water worth drinking for mile after mile Their willingness to lose their lives and the lives of their precious children to help colonize America is indirectly responsible for the comforts of generations a hundred years later and beyond, and should always be respected and admired By the conclusion of its cross country train voyage, Locomotive has assisted in furthering that goal A far cry aesthetically from Brian Floca s Moonshot, Locomotive is a successful literary analysis of American culture and engineering, a fine tribute to the brilliance of our forefathers without glamorizing certain questionable elements of the railroad s history As a nonfiction picture book, Locomotive is a valuable teaching tool as well as an evocative read, and I d probably rate it two and a half stars My 2014 Caldecott Medal would have gone to Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg s enormously moving Snowflakes Fall, but I can t argue too much with the committee s decision to award it to the excellent artwork of Locomotive It brings back the excitement of life in the American West for all who love those stories, and I m positive it will continue doing so for years to come

  7. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    I ve never been a fan of trains, but this points out why they re such an important part of our history, and why everyone should visit a railroad museum at least once in their lives Here in Carson City we ve a pretty good one, and there are rides on holidays including a Santa Train.It s a long book, and I did not read every word, especially the notes It sabout riding the train, taking the trip that is so muchcomfortable and fast than the covered wagons journeys that had been th I ve never been a fan of trains, but this points out why they re such an important part of our history, and why everyone should visit a railroad museum at least once in their lives Here in Carson City we ve a pretty good one, and there are rides on holidays including a Santa Train.It s a long book, and I did not read every word, especially the notes It sabout riding the train, taking the trip that is so muchcomfortable and fast than the covered wagons journeys that had been the way pioneer families moved west It s less about building the transcontinental tracks, which is fine, because there are already lots of good books about that, for example the stunning Coolies I did learn one thing, though the meet at Promontory Summit was not planned, as it could have been anywhere, because the two companies were racing to claim as much of the land, funding, and route as possible

  8. Mir Mir says:

    I m not the target audience for this I m not very interested in trains, yet already knew all the basic information and history covered here probably because they were important to California history I m not a child, and even when I was I wasn t a big reader of this sort of informative non fiction When I did read non fiction it was usually about mythology or animals I m also not usually a fan of the format with words in funny fonts or speech bubbles in illustrations, because for me they bre I m not the target audience for this I m not very interested in trains, yet already knew all the basic information and history covered here probably because they were important to California history I m not a child, and even when I was I wasn t a big reader of this sort of informative non fiction When I did read non fiction it was usually about mythology or animals I m also not usually a fan of the format with words in funny fonts or speech bubbles in illustrations, because for me they break the illusion of the visual But if you do like this technique, it is well done here.Recommended for elementary schoolers who are into planes and trains and things that go, or history and geography Fact over story kids

  9. Jessica Jessica says:

    Hm So this is the Caldecott winner from 2013, and I admit that the pictures are amazing The book is amazing, too, packed with information about traveling across the country by steam train just after the joining of the two great railroads The format is excellent, and the information is presented in a fun way But my personal criteria for picture books is that you should be able to read them to children who can t read themselves, and in that respect this book did not wow me Or my two youngest Hm So this is the Caldecott winner from 2013, and I admit that the pictures are amazing The book is amazing, too, packed with information about traveling across the country by steam train just after the joining of the two great railroads The format is excellent, and the information is presented in a fun way But my personal criteria for picture books is that you should be able to read them to children who can t read themselves, and in that respect this book did not wow me Or my two youngest My toddler loved the pictures, but there were too many words and they were way beyond his comprehension My 5yo could have comprehended it, but she lost interested after only a page The book is appealing to my 9yo, but for his age and reading level it was almost too simplified That s the trouble with older skewing picture books, I think finding the balance between the babies and the big kids, and figuring out how to talk to them

  10. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Wow It took me forever to make myself read this because it was always longer than I expected, but I m so glad I did What an inspiring journey on an early train I actually choked up at the page turn onto the Great Plains, with its sudden double page spread and tiny train Here the bison used to roam, by the hundreds, by the millions And when night falls Through the night the engine runs.Those up late hear her whistle,her wild and lonesome cry.It echoes on far hills and homes, it sounds in Wow It took me forever to make myself read this because it was always longer than I expected, but I m so glad I did What an inspiring journey on an early train I actually choked up at the page turn onto the Great Plains, with its sudden double page spread and tiny train Here the bison used to roam, by the hundreds, by the millions And when night falls Through the night the engine runs.Those up late hear her whistle,her wild and lonesome cry.It echoes on far hills and homes, it sounds in distant dreams I know this won the Caldecott, and the illustrations are stunningly detailed antlers on the front of the engine , but the writing is beautiful as well This may also be the only case where I agree with changing fonts within a story it works here Worth a read for its vivid slice of American history Includes author s note and Sources

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