Synopses & Reviews
All aboard! From the creator of the “stunning” (Booklist
, a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads.
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!
"In 1869, not long after the golden spike is driven into the rails at Promontory Summit, a mother and her two children climb aboard the Transcontinental Railroad, leaving behind their old life in Omaha for a new one in California, where Papa awaits. Floca (Moonshot) chronicles their journey from multiple perspectives: documentarian, poet, historian, tour guide, and irrepressible railroad geek. With the rhythmic, verselike text that's become his signature; expressive typography; and handsome, detailed watercolor, ink, and gouache paintings, he celebrates the majestic (the passing western landscape), the marvelous (the engineering and sheer manpower required to keep the engine safely on its course), and the mundane, from the primitiveness of the toilets to the iffiness of depot food ('If the chicken/ tastes like prairie dog,/ don't ask why'). It's a magisterial work (even the endpapers command close reading), but always approachable in its artistry and erudition. And readers will come away understanding that the railroad wasn't just about getting a group of passengers from Point A to Point B; it carried an entire nation into a new, more rapid world: 'Faster, faster, turn the wheels,/ faster, faster breathes the engine!/ The country runs by, the cottonwoods and river./ Westward, westward,/ runs the train,/ through the prairies,/ to the Great Plains,/ on to the frontier.' Ages 4 10. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Floca follows up the acclaimed Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (2009) with this ebullient, breathtaking look at a family's 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad....It's impossible to turn a page without learning something...multiple wow moments...will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts." Booklist, starred review
"Train buffs and history fans of many ages will find much to savor in this gorgeously rendered and intelligent effort."
School Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; The Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children's Book, and Locomotive, which explores America's first transcontinental railroad. He has illustrated Avi's Poppy Stories, Kate Messner's Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.