Locomotive is an absolutely gorgeous new book. Author/illustrator Brian Floca takes us on a journey on the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, soon after it was completed. The text reads almost like a poem due to the beauty of the language but is also full of detailed information about trains, the railroad, and the countryside that the railroad passed through.
The language is beautiful but the illustrations are even more so. Floca uses a muted palette and watercolor and ink drawings to convey the feeling of the time period he is writing about. The illustrations show one family traveling from Omaha to California on the railroad and tell a second nonverbal story to accompany the text. The heavily illustrated endpages are almost another book in themselves, showing a detailed diagram of a steam engine and a more in-depth map of the railroad route.
If you have a train loving child in your household, this is a must read. Even if you don’t, check it out. You might find that you create a train lover after reading this book.
This book is a nominee for a Cybils Award in the Elementary and Middle Grade Non-Fiction category for which I am a Round 1 panelist. I obtained a copy of the book from my library. My opinions are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the other panelists.