Floca, Brian

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Learn what it was like to travel on the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.

Publisher: New York ;, London :, Atheneum Books for Young Readers,, [2013]
Copyright Date: ♭2013
ISBN: 9781416994152
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) :,color illustrations ;,31 cm


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Dec 16, 2014
  • bibliovore rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of my son's favorite books to check out - he pores over the illustrations, which have loads of small details. Just gorgeous.

Aug 21, 2014

It is probably unrealistic for a children's book to touch on how immigrants were treated during the building of the railways - but I wish they had at least hinted at it. Might as well teach kids the whole history if you're going to go for it. Though I guess I'm free to simply tell my child about it myself.

Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Along steel rails a family travels the newly opened transcontinental railroad. Hear the sounds, see the sights, and take an amazing journey over mountains, through plains, and finally to the sea.

May 24, 2014
  • Beaker78 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

My 2 year old really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are amazing and the attention to detail is fantastic. There is enough going on that I stole the book from my son's room one evening so I could look longer. Do check out Brian Floca's other titles. Lightship is one that my son loved even more. Not as long or as detailed but just as enjoyable for all.

May 16, 2014
  • davidnehme rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Almost perfect book. I read it to my 2 year old. Although it pushes his attention span, he loves it. The rhythm of the prose is just right. As a parent, I'm still not tired of reading it to him and I learned a little about the history of rail and steam engines.

Apr 21, 2014

"The award-winning creator of Moonshot presents a richly detailed visual exploration of America's early railroads that examines the sounds, speed and strength of the fledgling transcontinental locomotives and the experiences of pioneering travellers." Kids' Books April 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/e46cb15a-8a5d-465f-8496-f1c49da127f1?postId=60b10445-518e-4eac-9e1b-fd8c286e2aca

Jan 22, 2014
  • Samauribrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Super cute book that will delight anyone seeking colorful pictures of trains.

Jan 18, 2014
  • forbesrachel rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Experience history through the images and sounds of the first locomotives. Young boys will absolutely love all the train noises that are strewn throughout. This key trait will keep their attention as the author goes into lengthier details about the trip, sights, passengers, and train itself.

Great care has gone into the train's look, however characters and backgrounds are much simpler. This means that we do not experience some of the grand vistas these travelers would have seen to full effect.

Considering how much history there is to early trains, the author successfully creates a well-rounded picture of their function, and importance to the people of the era. For both the United States and Canada they unified east to west, and the people on this particular journey go the full distance.

Nov 11, 2013
  • lms rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A Publisher's Weekly non-fiction favorite 2013

Jul 31, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The transcontinental express changed everything for America, and yet, until now, it has never been properly lauded in a book for children large and small. Locomotive fulfills that need, and then goes above and beyond the call of duty to give its readers the thrill of being there themselves. Would that all works recounting history could be imbued with Floca’s wit and sense and scale. It’s a big, long, dense book and frankly after reading it you won’t have it any other way. Ride the rails.


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Jul 31, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Hear the clear, hard call of her bell: CLANG-CLANG! CLANG-CLANG! CLANG-CLANG! Hear the HISSSSSSSSS and the SPIT of the steam! Hear the engine breathe like a beast: HUFF HUFF HUFF!”

Jul 31, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Here is a road made for crossing the country, a new road of rails made for people to ride.”


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Jul 31, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 4 years and over


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Jul 31, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Here is a road made for crossing the country, a new road of rails made for people to ride.” As we read these words we are standing in the center of some railroad tracks staring on a beautiful sunny day at the horizon where they disappear. A couple pages cover the creation of those tracks that were part of the transcontinental railway system, and then we meet our average family. In Omaha, Nebraska, 1869, a family waits for their train. When at last it arrives they board, bound for San Francisco. From here, Floca takes you through every step of this trip. He introduces people like the brakemen or the conductor. He discusses what makes the train run and the places you pass along the way. Everything from toilets and food to sleeping arrangements and rickety bridges are discussed. By the end the family arrives in one piece in San Francisco, grateful to the train but relieved to be off it once more. Backmatter includes an extensive “Note on the Locomotive” as well as a useful listing of various sources.


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