Sunday, November 24, 2013


Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. 
Every Wednesday, I'll review a non-fiction picture book. (It may not always be a picture book.) Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: Locomotive 
Author: Brian Floca 
Illustrator: Brian Floca 
PublisherAtheneum/Richard Jackson Books 
Publication Date: September, 2013 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: All aboard! From the creator of the "stunning" (BooklistMoonshot, 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!  
What I Think: I'm fascinated by Brian Floca's ability to capture a moment in time and describe it so that it feels like we are living in that one moment...walking around and examining every piece of it before you unfreeze that moment and life goes on.
     What I found most interesting about this book is that it's written in 2nd person voice. Throughout the book, the narrator is talking to "you" and it feels like the reader is literally in the book, smelling, seeing, hearing the sights and sounds, climbing on board the train and heading across the country. This book is a great mentor text for descriptive writing. Students have many opportunities to look at the author's craft and to discuss what he is doing. It's also a great opportunity to look at commas and when we use commas. Using this text, you might have a conversation about what comma rules we have and when we can break those rules. There are definitely different types of comma usage here though and we could take the time to notice what patterns we see as we read.
Read Together: Grades 2 - 12 
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 12  
Read With: Moonshot by Brian Floca, Train by Elisha Cooper, How To Train A Train by Jason Carter Eaton
Snatch of Text:  
"The hours and and miles roll by.

The country opens,
opens wide,
empty as an ocean.

Smell the switchgrass and the blustem,
hot beneath the sun.

Here the bison used to roam,
by the hundreds, by the millions.

Here the Cheyenne lived,
and Pawnee and Arapabo.

Here covered wagons used to crawl,
foot by foot, mile by mile,
heading into the West.
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Visualizing, Making Connections, Asking Questions 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Descriptive, Point of View - 2nd Person, Anaphora, Simile, Comma - Appositives, Word Choice, $100 Words, Alliteration, Author's Craft 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you took a trip - describe the "getting there" part of your travels. Write about how you get from one place to another - maybe from your desk to the library, from your locker to the bus, etc. Write from the perspective of an object and how it moves along during the day, describe what it might see or experience through the course of a day.  
Topics Covered: Travel, History, Integration - Social Studies 
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