Locomotive by Brian Floca (Ricki’s Review)



Author and Illustrator: Brian Floca
Published September 3rd, 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: The Caldecott Medal Winner, Sibert Honor Book, and New York Timesbestseller Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads, from the creator of the “stunning” (BooklistMoonshot.

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 the details of the trip and 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 hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!

My Review: Filled with a beautiful array images (watercolor, ink, acrylic, etc.), this incredibly well-researched book takes readers on a journey through the summer of 1869. It took my husband and me three nights to read this title to our son because we needed to pause and take in its magic. After I closed the last page of the book, a library copy, my husband looked at me and mouthed (because our son was asleep), “Let’s buy this one.” There is a wonderful balance of factual information about the train and lyrical language that brims with gorgeous figurative language. This book is a standout and well-deserving of the accolades it has received.

**A special thanks to Kellee, who texted me that I had to read this one. You can read her review here.**

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I would use this text in any grade level. I envision the eager eyes of elementary school students as their curiosity is piqued… middle schoolers, suddenly interested in trains and this time in our history…or high schoolers, researching the different parts of the train and learning how effective figurative language can be in writing. This book would be a great mentor text to teach creativity. The layout of the pages is so very purposeful, which pave the way for great classroom discussions.

Discussion Questions: How does Brian Floca grab the readers’ attention? How is his writing purposeful?; In what ways does Floca manipulate language?; How does the second person point-of-view add to the story?; What does this book teach us? Go beyond the obvious.; How do the pages differ in their visual appeal? Why do you think this is?

We Flagged:

Rather than including a quote here, I wanted to show you a few of the gorgeous spreads with this book. These pages are pulled from images posted on Amazon.

locomotive1 locomotive2 locomotive4 locomotive3

Read This If You Loved: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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