Friday, September 13, 2013

Locomotive By Brian Floca

This past week my husband surprised me with Brian Floca's new book Locomotive.   Apparently he does pay attention as I'd been going on and on about it's upcoming release for over a week.  He looks forward to Blu ray releases...I look forward to book releases.
Once in a blue moon, a children's book comes out that is SO GOOD I have to write about it as soon as possible.  And sometimes that children's book is SO GOOD that I find it difficult to come up with the right words to describe it.  To say that it is brilliant, awesome, unique, and Caldecott worthy are just a few ways to describe Locomotive by Brian Floca. To fully convey how wonderful this book really is, I might have to show you a couple of pictures.
My family can tell if I truly love a book because I keep saying things like "Wow!  Look at this page!" or "Awesome, it's like you're standing right there, inside the train!" or "Honey, you gotta see what this guy did!  He designed a whole different cover for under the dust jacket!"
I can't imagine the hours Mr. Floca put into his research for this project,  not to mention the sketching, drawing, painting, and all else that comes with making a book of this quality.  Each page (and there are many) is done in such accurate detail.  And the story flows like poetry.  I'll just quote the first line.

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

It just glides off the tongue, and catches your attention, doesn't it!?
And I love Floca's use of text fonts that are sprinkled throughout the book.  The only way to describe it is to show you...
There are "noisy" fonts and "western" fonts and "shaky" fonts as the train drives carefully over an old wooden trestle.  The special fonts aren't used so much that they are "over done", Floca uses them at just the right times and places...which is nice.
And there is quite a bit of humor mixed into Brian Floca's books that make do I describe it...very real, very child friendly.  It's as if he, on occasion, thinks as a child would think and asks the questions a child might ask, such as, "Were there bathrooms on the lightship, inside Apollo 11, on the train?"  You'll have to pick up the books to find out.  *wink*  I found myself giggling at quite a few chicken tasting strangely like prairie dog, or a runaway horse that is not used to the noise of the train. 
Every time I look at the book I see something I hadn't noticed before, such as a hobo hiding out with his cat in the rail yard, or the woman praying as the train goes over the rickety trestle (I'd have been praying too).  I LOVE children's books that do that, they never get old, they never become boring.

Now, even though, earlier this spring, I declared The Dark as my favorite to win the Caldecott...and even though I still think The Dark  is a very well done picture book (some people love it, some dislike it)...I must say, Locomotive is now my pick for the Caldecott Medal.  Speaking of medals, does anyone else think that Floca's Moonshot should have AT LEAST picked up an honor medal back in 2009?  Maybe this year will be Brian Floca's year.  I guess time will tell.
Until another day,
Happy Reading Everybody

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