Picture Book - 2013
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A visual exploration of America's early railroads that examines the sounds, speed and strength of the fledgling transcontinental locomotives and the experiences of pioneering travelers.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781416994152
Branch Call Number: J 385 Fl
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations, map ; 31 cm


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May 04, 2018

Loved this book! When I first brought it home, I thought it would be too wordy for my 3-year-old. But, he ended up really enjoying it. Beautifully illustrated, and the alliteration even brought my 2-year-old to the story to follow the journey of the train. I agree that this author doesn't address the major human rights issues and atrocities that occurred during the building of the railroads, but I think the book offers some great "jumping off points" to start discussions. For example, "Here the Cheyenne lived, and Pawnee and Arapaho." That line can lead to so many questions: "Who were these people? Where are they? Why don't they live here anymore?" I love that this book could be used in so many different ways to spark a child's curiosity and interests, and lead to further questions. So using this for a Unit Study!

Apr 03, 2018

Good illustrations (especially of the workings of a steam locomotive on the back end paper), but the text was clunky. I also found the perspective (settlers get to find a new home!) a bit sickening -- no mention made of the Native people driven off of their lands (and often murdered) or of the treatment of immigrant labor used to build the railroad.

Oct 03, 2015

Great illustrations, but rhymes not as effortless as those in his book Moon Shot. Tedious for a preschooler.

Dec 16, 2014

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.

BCD2013 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

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

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.

ChristchurchLib 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

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

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Apr 17, 2015

red_bird_2941 thinks this title is suitable for 5 years and over


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


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bravorock Dec 16, 2015

This picture book is an animated impression of a family's 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad. The unnamed family is a launching point for this author’s exploration into everything about early rail travel. Brian touches on crew responsibilities and machinery specifics that were technological breakthroughs for time. The inside cover first offers the reader specific details, dates and events that made this marvel possible. The text describes the United States “Before The Transcontinental Railroad,” mentioning Lincoln signing into law the Pacific Railway Act and introducing the reader to the formation of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad Companies. This two page spread offers the reader a map that helps the reader understand the text. Page by page, in chronological order, the journey is explicated point-by-point, station-by-station, scenic view-by-scenic view until the family finally reaches the end of the line, San Francisco, CA - the Pacific Coast.


“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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“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!”


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


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