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Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book) [Kindle Edition]

Brian Floca
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $5.00 (28%)
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Book Description

The Caldecott Medal Winner, Sibert Honor Book, and New York Times bestseller Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads, from the creator of the stunning (Booklist) Moonshot.

It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with descriptive details of the journey: 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.

Come sit inside the caboose, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-It all started with "a new road of rails/made for people to ride" where "covered wagons used to crawl." Almost 150 years ago-just after the Civil War-the completion of the transcontinental railway radically changed both this country's landscape and the opportunities of its people. The book traces the advent of cross-country train travel, focusing on an early trip from Omaha to Sacramento. As in Moonshot (2009) and Lightship (2007, both S & S), Floca proves himself masterful with words, art, and ideas. The book's large format offers space for a robust story in a hefty package of information. Set in well-paced blank verse, the text begins with a quick sketch of "how this road was built" and moves abruptly to the passengers on the platform and the approaching train. The author smoothly integrates descriptions of the structure and mechanics of the locomotive, tasks of crew members, passing landscapes, and experiences of passengers. Simply sketched people and backgrounds, striking views of the locomotive, and broad scenes of unpopulated terrain are framed in small vignettes or sweep across the page. Though a bit technical in explaining engine parts, the travelogue scheme will read aloud nicely and also offers absorbing details for leisurely personal reading. Substantial introductory and concluding sections serve older readers. There's also a detailed explanation of the author's efforts and sources in exploring his subject. Train buffs and history fans of many ages will find much to savor in this gorgeously rendered and intelligent effort.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Bostonα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Floca follows up the acclaimed Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (2009) with this ebullient, breathtaking look at a family’s 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad. The unnamed family is a launching point for Floca’s irrepressible exploration into, well, everything about early rail travel, from crew responsibilities and machinery specifics to the sensory thrills of a bridge rumbling beneath and the wind blasting into your face. The substantial text is delivered in nonrhyming stanzas as enlightening as they are poetic: the “smoke and cinders, / ash and sweat” of the coal engine and the Great Plains stretching out “empty as an ocean.” Blasting through these artful compositions are the bellows of the conductor (“FULL STEAM AHEAD”) and the scream of the train whistle, so loud that it bleeds off the page: “WHOOOOOOO!” Font styles swap restlessly to best embody each noise (see the blunt, bold “SPIT” versus the ornate, ballooning “HUFF HUFF HUFF”). Just as heart pounding are Floca’s bold, detailed watercolors, which swap massive close-ups of barreling locomotives with sweeping bird’s-eye views that show how even these metal giants were dwarfed by nature. It’s impossible to turn a page without learning something, but it’s these multiple wow moments that will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts. Grades K-3. --Daniel Kraus

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in awe of this great book! September 14, 2013
I saw this book at our library on the "new books" shelf and grabbed it for my 5-year-old train-loving son. I just finished reading it to him... I didn't time it, but it took over 20 minutes to read, I am sure. maybe a full half hour? the time went by fast for us, though. we both really loved it. and my 3 year old and 8 year old daughters listened to the majority of it as well. What can I say that hasn't been said in the previous thorough review... I don't have much to add, since I agree with everything in that review. The pictures were amazing. Very simple, yet at the same time, detailed. I can't explain it! Just right to hold the attention of my three kids through all of the text. And the text itself was also captivating. There was a rhythm to it, but it wasn't at all sing song-y. I don't particularly care for the sing song-y rhyming books. I loved the cadence of this book... it was just the right rhythm to correspond to the rolling rumbling train. The imagery was so wonderful and you really felt like you were there on the long trip. The fact that this book held the attention of my kids despite its length says it all. I do plan to purchase this book... but I wanted to throw my review in the pot immediately! so glad I stumbled on this book!!
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite picture book of 2013 December 10, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful picture book for kids who think they are too old for picture books. It is about the height of mid-nineteenth century technology, the steam locomotive. Two kids and their mother taking the train from Omaha, Nebraska to San Francisco. As they travel, we see what they are seeing out the train windows, we learn about the building of the railroads and the functions of each part of the train. We learn about the jobs of the conductor, the engineer and the fireman and how they keep everything running smoothly. Every part of this book, even the endpapers will have kids pouring over the details. It is part narrative, part geography and part technology. A worthy successor to the author's previous work, "Moonshot".
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A train runs along this track September 5, 2013
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 even more enthralled. 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.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a beautiful story September 26, 2013
I have never written a review before, but I just had to after purchasing this book.

Mr Brian Floca has done a wonderful job with this book. The story is so well written and the illustrations are beautiful, simply beautiful. What a great way to spend a night riding the rails. He makes you feel like you are right there in the story. This is already going to be a new favorite at my house. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Floca at my local independent bookstore, for an author event, and I was in awe of his great work. His presentation on how he developed the book was phenomenal. He researched and experienced the locomotive, and you can tell his heart is in this book by the way the story just flows on the pages.

This is a keepsake book, the kind you read over and over, and then pass on down through your family.

It is not just a book, but a work of art!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful train book January 4, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my grandson who loves trains. While I didn't read it, my husband, a retired railroader, did and pronounced the book a beautiful book. He and our grandson share their love of trains. The pictures are lovely and the text is well written according to my husband.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Train Book with a Novel Touch January 4, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lots of detailed information without being too heavy. My 8-year-old grandson, who likes trains, was overjoyed to get this unique resource.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two year old loves pictures! January 19, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my two year old. He loves the pictures. As he gets older we will be able to read the story to him. Great book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of if not THE best railroad books for children ( I'n 78 and I ...
One of if not THE best railroad books for children ( I'n 78 and I thoroughly enjoyed it). Wonderfully illustrated.
Published 3 days ago by Leonard C. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Book!
Published 13 days ago by pam
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully illustrated and well written
This is a great book. Beautifully illustrated, well written and historically accurate. My son, who loves trains, regularly likes having me read him this book.
Published 13 days ago by DSW
5.0 out of 5 stars Very long and informative, but my son loves it ...
Very long and informative, but my son loves it and we just read about 10 pages at a time and look at the pictures.
Published 15 days ago by Joe's Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful book
Published 16 days ago by Kent Sauers
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing something...
GORGEOUS illustrations!! after reading this book, I have a new found appreciation for children book authors! Floca is super talented and its evident in his work! Read more
Published 17 days ago by Vicholic
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps for train lovers
Although this was recommended, it might be an exciting addition to a train lover's library but didn't feel special as a standalone book. Read more
Published 22 days ago by tspia
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Non-fiction Book About Locomotives but Has Too Many Words for...
Customer Video Review
Length: 2:28 Mins
Published 23 days ago by Geektasticdad
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My son loved it.
Published 1 month ago by Judith Diamond
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Love
Love, Love , Love this book and the pictures are great. My grandson loves for me to read it to him
Published 1 month ago by Donna Parker
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More About the Author

Brian Floca's picture books include "Locomotive," winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, and a New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2013 selection; "Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11," also a Sibert Honor Book and New York Times Best Illustrated Book; "Lightship," a Sibert Honor Book; and "The Racecar Alphabet" and "Five Trucks." Brian is also the illustrator of Avi's popular Poppy Stories, Kate Messner's three Marty McGuire novels, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's "Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring" -- a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award -- and Lynne Cox's just published "Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas." You can visit him online at

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