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Review of With Dad

With Dad by Richard Jackson; illus. by Brian FlocaPrimary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.5/24    9780823444953    $18.99e-book ed.  9780823455362    $11.99“In Michigan country on a two-rut road along a stream called the upper South Branch of the Au Sable River,” a young boy sits on his father’s lap in a red Jeep, two sets...

Review of Keeping the City Going

Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca; illus. by the author Primary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-5344-9377-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-9378-0    $10.99 Caldecott winner Floca (Locomotive, rev. 9/13) presents a love letter to New York City and its essential workers during COVID-19. “We are here at home now, watching...

Hawk Rising

If the flight of a hawk is poetry in motion, then this book is, too. Author Maria Gianferrari provides the poetry, and illustrator Brian Floca provides the hawk in motion. Parallel stories are at work here: Father Hawk hunts, while Mother Hawk stays with their chicks; a human girl, binoculars...

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Since Brian Floca won the Caldecott last year for Locomotive, you can bet this year's committee will be taking a look at his 2014 picture book.Written by long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox, this is a factual account of a particularly incorrigible elephant seal and the Christchurch, New Zealand, community that eventually...

B: A Profile of Brian Floca

An editor’s dream — smart authors, smart artists. They save so much time. That is, they’re up to speed without undue heaving or the need for sand on the tracks (see Locomotive for more on the subject). My subject in this tribute is someone who is all three: author, artist,...

Worlds collide

Readers of this blog will know exactly why I am linking to this month's School Library Journal's cover story: kudos to Brian Floca, Locomotive, and our own Robin Smith!...

Studio Views: Pen, Ink, Watercolor, Repeat

I began my illustration career with black and white work. I was much more of a drawer than a painter, much more comfortable with line than with color. One of the things that attracted me to the combination of pen-and-ink and watercolor back then was that watercolor’s transparency allowed me...

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and Locomotive: Compare and Contrast

On Tuesday Robin took a second look at Journey and Mr. Wuffles!; today I am grouping another two books with, perhaps, little in common except their excellence, their top-notch production values, their presence on many mock Caldecott winning ballots—and the distinct possibility that they’ll find a place on the real...


The first thing you notice about Brian Floca’s Locomotive is its big, bold size and square shape. Jonathan Bean's Building our House  has a larger-than-average trim size as well, but this is different. This one has a lot more bells and whistles (literally: “CLANG-CLANG CLANG-CLANG” “WHOO-OOOOOO”). This one is in-your-face big;...

Review of Locomotive

Locomotiveby Brian Floca; illus. by the authorPrimary, Intermediate   Jackson/Atheneum   64 pp.9/13     978-1-4169-9415-2   $17.99e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8522-8   $12.99Talk about a youth librarian’s dream come true: a big new book about those ever-popular trains from a bona fide picture-book-nonfiction all-star. Striking cinematic endpapers lay the groundwork, describing the creation of the Transcontinental...

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