01 February 2014

Locomotive Wins the Caldecott

On Monday, the ALA announced its choices for the Caldecott with the coveted gold medal going to the very deserving Brian Floca for Locomotive.  Here is my take on the newly-crowned book, via the Huffington Post.
Locomotive by Brian Floca (Simon & Schuster)
2013-12-04-Locomotive.jpg

It's not often that a picture book can be described as "magisterial", but such is scope of Floca's achievement here. Starting with the breathtaking cover which has you staring down an oncoming locomotive, the book takes the reader on a cross-country trip during the early days of the steam train. The text is bolstered by exhaustive research, as evidenced by one of the most impressive bibliographies you'll ever see in a picture book. And yet, it is anything but dry due to its rhythmic tone (at times calling to mind the propulsive chug-a-chug-a-chug-a of a train) and illustrations so engaging you practically have to shake the sepia-toned dust out of your hair at the end of the ride.