Just recently the Caldecott Medal was awarded, along with the Caldecott Honors. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is like the Pulitzer Prize for children’s books. Officially, according to the Association for Library Service to Children, who is responsible for awarding the prize each year, it is given “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children”. This year’s top award went to Locomotive, written by Brian Floca. We discovered this book on a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, there was a nice display recognizing the book’s special award.
The book is perfect for any young lover of trains; anyone who has a child who loves books about trains – and parents who have memorized most of the Thomas the Tank Engine fans (I can relate!). It follows a young family on their journey west, from Nebraska to Sacramento, California. This is a journey that many thousands of individuals took during the 19th century, which is when this story takes place. The artwork is beautiful, there are sound effects to mimic the sounds of the train, and beautiful lines written in verse. For the older train lovers (parents who share this interest with their kids), there is a map of the Pacific Railroad, a detailed diagram of the steam engine, and a brief history of the locomotive in the back apges of the book.