Locomotive – Perfect Picture Book Friday – Redux

26 Sep

I just pulled Locomotive by Brian Floca off the “new” shelf at our local library. The minute I saw the endpapers, I knew I had to check it out!




But it’s not really “new.” Joanna Marple of Miss Marple’s Musings gave this book an outstanding review back in November of 2013. And yes, it’s a Caldecott Medal book, but I’d like to give it another plug, it is just soooo fabulous!

“The hours and miles roll by.
The country opens,
opens wide,
empty as an ocean.
Smell the switchgrass and the bluestem,
hot beneath the sun.
Here the bison used to roam,
by the hundreds, by the millions.
Here the Cheyenne lived,
and the Pawnee and Arapaho.
Here covered wagons used to crawl,
foot by foot, mile by mile,
heading into the West.
The railroad and the men who built it—
they have changed it all.”

Readers learn much more than straight facts about the railroad. They get context and information that may send them in other directions. What is switchgrass and bluestem? What happened to the bison? Who are the Cheyenne, Pawnee and Arapaho? Inquiring minds want to know!

The language is lyrical, the information extensive and well-presented, and the illustrations sublime. And then there’s the back matter: Under “Sources,” the author writes, “One could fill a boxcar—maybe a freight train—with books written about the railroad in America.” I think the author read them all and culled the most juicy tidbits to fill the pages of this immensely fascinating book.

Although it’s also available as an eBook, I would highly recommend the hard copy. Readers will want to touch these lovely pages. Enjoy!

Title: Locomotive

Author/illustrator: Brian Floca

Ages: 4-11

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Pub date: 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9415-2


25 Responses to “Locomotive – Perfect Picture Book Friday – Redux”

  1. Margarita September 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for the recommendation, Jilanne. My husband’s great-grandfather was a conductor on the railroad in Pennsylvania. This looks like a great addition to the grandchildren’s Christmas presents! xoxoM

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Yes! Yes! Yes! They will love it! Especially since you have steam in your bloodlines. 😀

  2. Joanne Roberts September 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Thanks for the heartfelt praise. I guess I’d better get my caboose over to the library.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Yes, set your caboose loose in the library. 😀 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Joanna September 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    It certainly deserves many plugs!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

      He put so much time and energy and love into this book, it deserves as much publicity as it can get! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Carrie Rubin September 26, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m starting to feel guilty about the lightweight fiction novel I’m presently reading (“This is Where I Leave You”). Feel like I should be devouring something more substantial. 😉

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      I think you should enjoy whatever you’re reading. “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” Applies to more than just candy bars. 😀

  5. Mrs. P September 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    You got my interest with the maps…I gravitate to maps and lead wherever they take me. 😀 I am a touchy-feely girl, too…must be able to turn pages. 😀

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 26, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

      I think you’d like it. It just looks and feels good in the hands. Your library is only a stone’s throw away. What’s taking you so long to get there? 😀

  6. patientdreamer September 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Lovely review, thank you for sharing this exceptional story. Loved the detail flaps you’ve shown us. Thank you!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have the opportunity to check the book out. The author/illustrator did an amazing job.

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill September 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    This is a great one, Jilanne! I love the language, and the way so many details like the bluestem are included – such nice touches!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      I agree. There’s so much in these pages. A true work of art! Thanks for dropping by!

  8. Stacy S. Jensen September 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    This is a fun one. This makes me want to check it out again. I love the “new” shelf at one of our libraries, as I always find good books there.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 28, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

      I’ve been spending a lot of time combing through the “new” shelves. So much to read!

  9. thiskidreviewsbooks September 29, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    This looks like an amazing book! I love when there is so much detail to the illustrations that it helps the story. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann September 29, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      The illustrations are fascinating. I have looked at them for a long time, and have been discovering all kinds of things that I never knew. It’s really cool! Thanks for stopping by, Erik!

  10. Penny Parker Klostermann September 30, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    This is such a wonderful book! I really loved it when I read it. Great review.

  11. Letizia October 1, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    It looks like such a beautiful and lyrical book. I will make a stop at my library and see if it’s on the shelves…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann October 1, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Please do! Even if it’s just for a quick browse while you’re on your way to the adult fiction. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned while reading children’s nonfiction picture books. And they’re so much more interesting than the older, didactic ones written with so little style.

  12. Kate Johnston October 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Looks like so much fun, and something my son would have loved when he was younger. I tried to find that other book in the library — Nurse, Soldier, Spy — and to my horror, they didn’t have it! So, I requested it. Hopefully, they will deem it worthy enough to purchase. If not, I’ll tell them to talk to you about it. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann October 2, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Just give me five minutes with your librarian, and I’ll have them ordering all kinds of awesome books. 😀

      Seriously, “Nurse, Soldier, Spy” is a must for any school/public library. And her story needs to be written for the big screen. I know about a zillion people who would go see it. And probably just as many actresses who would love to star in the film. Talk about a meaty role!!

Go ahead, drop a thought into the well and see what happens...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: