Locomotive by Brian Floca, won the Randolph Caldecott Medal in 2014.
The book describes the building and usage of the transcontinental railroad and the journey of its passengers from Nebraska to California. It does an excellent job of explaining all the different demands of the workers on the train as well as explaining the passengers experience. It seems to be geared towards a younger elementary school audience, but could also be used in older grades especially when learning about history and geography. On the inside covers of the book, there is extraneous information provided that could be extremely helpful to teachers and parents.
The writing style puts a lot of emphasis on the sounds and actions that the train makes and the book is written in aesthetically stimulating fashion.
Each page has an illustration that coordinates with the writing. The illustrations are really what makes the book. They are extremely detailed and colorful and true to the time period that the book is set in. Each new location that the train travels to is identified in the bottom corner of the illustration, this allows for the reader to connect the trains journey across the country.
Overall, the book does a nice job of connecting historical information in an engaging way for children of many ages. Specifically, the images will allow for children to imagine life at this time.
Becca Jacques & Virginia Bentley