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on April 17, 2005
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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on December 19, 2006
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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on April 24, 2006
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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on May 22, 2006
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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on February 3, 2006
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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on April 3, 2007
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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on October 3, 2003
"You have a poet's heart, Lonnie./ That's what Ms. Marcus said to me./ I have a poet's heart./ That's good. A good thing to have./ And I'm the one who has it."
Lonnie Collins Motion does have a poet's heart, and the readers of this book feel honored to watch his gift emerge as he works to come to terms with what life has given him. Through poetic structures, Lonnie shares his life with us. Lonnie was seven and away at a babysitter's house when a fire claimed the lives of his parents. He and his little sister were taken into foster care and were soon separated from each other. Like other adolescent boys, Lonnie makes decisions every day about friends and girls and school, but his painful past and his intense self-reflection give him greater dimension than the ordinary coming-of-age character. It is Lonnie's love for his sister and his desire to rebuild his relationship with her that forces him to make big decisions about God and his future and, in turn, forces the reader to connect to him and want great things for him. Ms. Edna, Lonnie's foster mother, proves to be a greater inspiration than the reader initially expects, and his English teacher, Ms. Marcus provides him the opportunity to discover what really matters.
This book is what some might call a "quick read," but the themes that emerge and memorable and honest. I recommend this book to readers ages 12 through adulthood.
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Like snowdrops in the spring, books like Jacqueline Woodson's, "Locomotion" have sprung up en masse over the last few years. Their popularity comes from a variety of different areas. "Locomotion", like its fellow verse novel brethren, follows a sad youth as he discovers the beauty of verse and chronicles his life's problems and joys through this new medium. 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. Educators like it because it teaches children about the beauty of free-flowing verse and is spotted with such mentions as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. And librarians like it because it's a clever way of getting kids to read. Is the book the most original of its kind? No, not so much. But it is interesting and well-written and fun. A superb addition to any library, whether public, private, or at school.

Know a kid who just can't keep still? Who fidgets and yells and just generally enjoys life itself? Then you know a kid like Locomotion. Lonnie Collins Motion (Lo-Co-Motion) is frisky but deeply upset. It's not been long since his parents died in a house fire and he and his sister were separated between different foster families. Lonnie's staying with Miss Edna, a woman who enjoys silent kids but has a real soft spot in her heart for Lonnie. His sister is with a different woman, one who enjoys clean houses, religious children, and people who are NOT Lonnie. Fortunately, Lonnie's teacher at school, Ms. Marcus, has gotten him interested in writing down his thoughts in the form of poems. Suddenly Lonnie can't stop writing them! He puts down everything in his life that there is. His friends (one of whom comes down with sickle cell anemia), the girl he likes, his nights on the roof staring up into the stars, and many memories of his parents. Through the course of the book you get a real feel for Lonnie. You know that he's the kind of kid who'll end up doing well. And you know you shouldn't worry too deeply about him. He's smart enough to know how to get along in life. After all, he's already been through the worst.

The book tackles everything from race (Lonnie's black and often notices when white people, like his teacher, stumble along ignorantly) to class to personal integrity. This is perhaps one of the first children's books I've read that discusses soldiers fighting in the Middle East overseas in a straightforward manner (most impressive when you consider its 2003 publication date). I suspect "Locomotion" is bound to be parsed apart by eager teachers for the benefit of their students. I harbor some slight hope though that maybe some kid will find the book all on his or her own. Maybe they'll be attracted to its cover, where Lonnie dances about goofily. Maybe they'll like its form or what it's not afraid to say. And maybe, just maybe, some kid reading it will be inspired to write a poem or two about their own life. That's not a crazy thought, right?

"Locomotion" is like a slightly older and more mature version of Sharon Creech's, "Love That Dog". But while "Love That Dog" deals with the death of a pet and a boy's discovery of poetry, "Locomotion" is about the death of parents and a boy's discovery of what it means to be alive. Between the two, I'd choose "Locomotion" any day. A funny touching story that perfectly compliments its rambunctious narrator. If you've a reluctant reader on your hands, it's at least worth a shot to let them discover it.
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on June 15, 2006
The book "Locomotion" is about how an 11 year old kid called Lonnie Collins Motion and his sister Lilly Motion lose their parents in a tremendous fire while they were going home from a family reunion they had gone to. Then as soon as the bodies are sent to the hospital in an ambulance then once the people in the hospital find where to call the grandama answers the phone and wonders why the hospital is calling the house they tell her that two adults have died in fire that had been started by someone else. Then after the kids grandma had found out she told the kids that their parents had died in a terrible fire. At first the kids felt bad but then afterwards they thought that whoever had done this to their would get caught sooner or later. This is what the book "Locomotion" is mainly about.

I think this book is a very interesting and at the same time sad because first the kids lose their parents in a fire but what is intersting is that the police does not know who started this fire and also they don't have any information about that person aswell. I definetly recomend this book to people who like reading books about kids and what has happened to them and their family throughout their lives. This is what I think about the book "Locomotion".
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VINE VOICEon November 30, 2003
You don't just get to write a poem once
You gotta write it over and over and over
until it feels real good to you
And sometimes it does
and sometimes it doesn't
That's what's really great
and really stupid
about poetry.
One lunchtime presentation at NCTE that I won't soon forget was listening to Jacqueline Woodson read extensively from her latest book, LOCOMOTION:
Some days, like today
and yesterday and probably
tomorrow--all my missing gets jumbled up inside of me.
You know honeysuckle talc powder?
Mama used to smell like that. She told me
honeysuckle's really a flower but all I know
is the powder that smells like Mama.
Sometimes when the missing gets real bad
I go to the drugstore and before the guard starts
following me around like I'm gonna steal something
I go to the cosmetics lady and ask her if she has it.
When she says yeah, I say
Can I smell it to see if it's the right one?
Even though the cosmetics ladies roll their eyes at me
they let me smell it.
And for those few seconds, Mama's alive
And I'm remembering
all kinds of good things about her like
the way she laughed at my jokes
even when they were dumb
and the way she sometimes just grabbed me
and hugged me before
I had a chance to get away.
And the way her voice always sounded good
and bad at the same time when she was singing
in the shower.
And her red pocketbook that always had some
tangerine Life Savers inside it for me and Lili
No, I say to the cosmetics lady. It's not the right one.
And then I leave fast.
Before somebody asks to check my pockets
which are always empty 'cause I don't steal.
Now, I'm somebody who likes to have a book in my hands, rather than on tape, but Jacki Woodson's reading enveloped me in Lonnie's story; LOCOMOTION was the first book I grabbed when I got home yesterday.
"Everybody's doing a brand new dance now
Come on baby, do the Locomotion
I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance now
Come on baby, do the locomotion
My little baby sister can do it with ease
It's easier than learning your abc's
So, come on. come on, do the locomotion with me"
--Gerry Goffin & Carole King
LOCOMOTION is a verse novel in which Woodson tells the story of Lonnie Collins Motion (Get it?) who is eleven. He was lucky to survive his premature birth, and then saw his world devastated at seven when his parents were killed in a fire. Next, he is separated from his beloved little sister, Lili. All by himself, Lonnie suffered through the group home ordeal until coming to live with Miss Edna. With the help of his new foster mom, his inspiring teacher, Ms. Marcus, and the poetry through which he reveals his story, Lonnie begins healing from the trauma he's been enduring. There are good friends at school (one who's even a girl), a new big brother, and a regular schedule of visiting with Lili. Life's not all Disneyland, but Lonnie's a survivor who has made the most of his small share of good luck.
People all the time talking about how much they hate pigeons 'cause pigeons fly by and crap on their heads and then somebody always says That's good luck! That's good luck! so you don't feel all stupid going through your pockets tryna find a tissue to wipe it off and you never find one 'cause you don't be carrying tissues like an old lady so you gotta walk up to some old lady with that pigeon crap on your head and ask her for a tissue and she just goes Don't worry, that's good luck like everybody else and it makes you hate those sky roaches 'cause they're everywhere in the city so you better duck if they fly over your head or else...
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