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Locomotion Paperback – January 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The kinetic energy of the aptly named Locomotion (the nickname of Lonnie Collins Motion) permeates the 60 poems that tell his sad yet hopeful story. Lonnie's first poem sets up a conflict familiar to anyone who has attempted creativity: despite the cheering of his teacher, Ms. Marcus ("Write it down before it leaves your brain," she says), as he begins to write, Lonnie hears the critical voice of his foster mother ("It's Miss Edna's over and over/ Be quiet!"). As Lonnie explores poetry's various forms throughout this brief yet poignant and occasionally humorous volume, he also reveals Miss Edna's kindness toward him in the little things she says and does ("The last time Miss Edna came home and found me/ crying She said Think/ about all the stuff you love, Lonnie"). Gradually Lonnie reveals that at age seven, his parents died in a fire, leaving him and his younger sister, Lili, orphaned. Lili was adopted, yet Lonnie figures out a way to visit her regularly. The gradual unfolding of his life's events intermingle with his discoveries about poetry as a form, from haiku to sonnets ("Ms. Marcus says "sonnet" comes from "sonnetto"/ and that sonnetto means little song or sound/ It reminds me of that guy's name Gepetto/ the one who made Pinocchio from wood he found") to the epistle poems he writes to his father and to God. Woodson, through Lonnie, creates (much as Sharon Creech did with the boy narrator in Love That Dog) a contagious appreciation for poetry while using the genre as a cathartic means for expressing the young poet's own grief. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Lonnie Collins Motion (Lo-Co-Motion) has been grieving the accidental death of his parents for four years. Now 11, he works through his grief by writing poetry with encouragement from his teacher who understands the nature of his poetic gift and the cathartic necessity of getting him to express his feelings through it. Bit by bit, listeners learn about Lonnie: the deaths of his parents in an electrical fire at their home; the twist of fate that spared Lonnie and his sister; his hard-knock stint as a "throw-away boy" in a group home; the foster home he now lives in with loving caretaker, Miss Edna; and the longing he feels to be reconnected with his sister. In her novel (Penguin, 2003), Jacqueline Woodson uses various forms of poetry, such as haiku, sonnet, and free verse, to convey the boy's range of emotions. Dion Graham gives Lonnie's lyrical voice a gravelly and deep tone, perfectly conveying his feelings. A powerful, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful story.-Jennifer Verbrugge, Dakota County Library, Eagan, MNα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (January 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142415529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142415528
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on April 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson tops the list of originality with thought provoking words from a little boy named Lonnie. Although LOCOMOTION is categorized as poetry, it is not written as one of the traditional styles of poems that rhyme. LOCOMOTION is a collection of poems that reads as a story with uniqueness and wonderful grandeur. Every word echoes a young child's hurt and rediscovery of self.

Lonnie, who lost his parents in a fire, writes in first person in the book. He tells a story through poetic form of suddenly being left alone and separated from his little sister, Lili. Lonnie is encouraged by his teacher to write down all this thoughts as soon as they hit his brain. He writes about living in a foster home, visits with his sister and going to school each day. Lonnie continues his thoughts about the new kid in school, his friends and learning about sickle cell anemia for the first time. He writes of trying to believe in God, as his little sister has done, believing one day they will be together as a family. The most heart wrenching part was his words of about not having his parents with them anymore and learning that he and his sister would be living in separate homes.

I have never read such an enjoyable children's book as LOCOMOTION. Jacqueline Woodson has opened new doors of poetic style and humble offerings. Although this book is written for ages six to twelve, a book of this magnitude can be enjoyed by all ages. Several selections brought tears to my eyes and caused my heart and soul to interact with each word. The heartfelt meaning of why Lonnie was expressing himself through words was moving. Jacqueline Woodson has indeed written another award winning children's book.

Reviewed by Kalaani

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love this book because he expereses his feelings in poems.I would recamend this book to people who like poems or are afraid to express their feelings. In stead of saying it like it's bad, but express in things that you like doing. Read this book and you'll fall in love. I wish there was a locomotion 2.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeeDiva on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book, although it was more of a collection of poems that actual story. It had a very loose flow to it. There was no real structure. Lonnie, the main character, told a story through statements and poems throughout the book. It is written for children without giving them that same standard type of rhyming poem that they are accustomed to seeing. It is recommended from ages six to twelve, but the issues it deals with reach a much larger fan base. From those dealing with the loss of a family member, those dealing with tragedy, and those battling sickle cell these book has a way of touching and helping those. In order to deal with the loss of his parents and separation from his sister Lili, Lonnie uses art as a medium to express his emotions. The result is a story told entirely in different kinds of poems. Long poems, short poems, sonnets, haiku, and letters to be exact. Kids love this book because it's a quick read. Each line written is a glimpse into Lonnie's soul as he discover's and becomes aware of himself and the world around him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Locomotion is a poem book about a little boy named Lonnie who is 11 years old. His parents died in a fire and he and his sister are now living in two different homes. Lonnie is with Mrs. Edna and Lilly's with "her new momma", as Lonnie calls her. Lilly is only 8 years old. Lonnie writes the poems in a poem journal he got from his teacher. You would like this book if you like different styles of poetry and if you like good books!

I give this book 4 stars. I had a few questions while reading it. Why is the book called Locomotion? What smoke? Why is he staying at Mrs. Edna's house? How old is Lonnie? All of my questions were answered. Three things I liked best were: the poetry, how I could relate to the character a little, and the realistic setting the book had. You should definitely read this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book, Locomotion, was an okay book. I think that in some ways it was good and in some ways bad. The book should have been called a collection of poems rather than a book. The poems did not fit like a story well because they never reached a climax. I think that this book would suit someone who wanted to learn that poetry does not need to rhyme and that they can be very freeform. Woodson has a gift for writing poetry, but not for creating a plot. I would not recommend this book to someone looking for a great book, but for a quick read. I thought that the book did not satisfy me but still deserves a decent rating. It was interesting to discuss at times but sometimes the poems lacked deeper meaning. All in all, the book was good but not a book that I would highly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
In this book Locomotion is going through a lot because he is trying to live in the same foster home as his little sister, Lili. It is also hard for him because when he writes about his parents being in the fire it makes him sad. Sometimes he gets mad because whenever Locomotion goes to visit his little sister, Lili, her foster mother acts like she doesn't want him there. I would recommend this book because it is interesting how his life style was when he was growing up.
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