Locomotive by Brian Floca.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster: NY, 2013.

I have to start by saying, I love this book! Looking at the book, the illustrations and onomatopoeia automatically draw you in. Glimpsing at the stanzas, you know you are in for a rare treat. It helps that the subject is a favorite that people can't seem to get enough of.

The beginning end pages are a prologue, depicting and describing the building of the transcontinental railroads, the need for them and the impact on society. The opposite side discusses the parts of the locomotive. The story follows a trip that early riders on the railroad might take, including different aspects of the experience - first impression, terrain of the route, sleeping and eating and passing time. The story is told through short poetic blurbs. It is a thorough characterization of railroad experiences. The text is a higher level than what is standard for picture books. The book format is creative, and I love that Floca has learned that young children are capable of understanding this level. I think it is a book that will find a place on kids' shelves and be looked at over and over. First, with the very young listening to the rhythm and beauty of it and viewing the great illustrations. Later, they will look more closely and see the nuances and want to know the history and how it all works. History, science and appreciation of the lore all in one book. Fantastic!

related-trains, railroads, travel, 1800s, 19th century, communication, industrial and social progress
RL=1st-2nd, read aloud to toddlers-1st

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