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Locomotion Paperback – January 7, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Locomotion Series

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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
  • Lexile Measure: NP (What's this?)
  • 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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
Through poetry, Jacqueline talks a very heart-warming story of Locomotion and his sister, touching on the issues of family, race and poverty in a very human and sensitive way.
Black bodies, especially, black poor bodies are often only offered up as studies in pathology. Problems to gawk and gaze at. Growing up in a poor, predominantly black area, I have rarely read books where I recognize myself and my neighbors, even books supposedly speaking to our issues. I wouldn't say I could all the way see my self in the descriptions of the characters but it has been the closest I've ever come.
Jacqueline's simple novel presented black characters in a way I seldom see them written: nuanced, as human, with real family lives and realistic problems without making them overly extraordinary or otherwise arbitrary. It was a good read. I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
What a beautiful and truly heartening story! I, myself, happen to LOVE poetry, but many others just can't seem to get into it. While Locomotion did have its faults (which I'll get to later), there were so many things to just idolize. One, the charming setting. Although we never directly hear the location Locomotion takes place in, it is undoubtedly the South, especially since they talk about moving from Georgia- and, of course, because of the language they use (ex, "I ain't got nothin!") I especially loved the way in which Lonnie "Locomotion" described the world around him. And Lili... oh god. Lili. Lili was just beyond amazing, as if she had some little piece of God within herself, the insightful way she spoke and viewed the world. Lonnie was no different, he just never fully said his wonderful thoughts and writing aloud. Reading Locomotion has certainly given me a unique view at the world, and has me fully convinced Jacqueline Wood has spoken with God herself to write this novel. I will definitely be reading more, Ms. Wood!

Also see this review on our site @ http://realkidsrealgoodbookreviews.weebly.com/
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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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