#1313 – A TRAIN JOURNEY by Gérard Lo Monaco


A Pop-Up History of Rail Travel
Created by Gérard Lo Monaco
Thames & Hudson—November 2020
8 Pages   Age 5+

Genre:  Children’s Pop-Up Book, Nonfiction
Themes: Trains, Pop-ups, Engineering 


All aboard! Young train lovers (and those who are young at heart) will lose themselves in these lively, highly detailed illustrations showcasing great trains in history—from the first steam engine to the futuristic bullet train—including four glorious pop-up scenes.(from publisher)

Opening Sentences

“In 1829, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) wanted to test the use of steam engines on their new railway line, which was almost finished and about to open to passengers. To do this, they held a contest called the Rainhill Trials, in order to find a way to provide reliable rail service between Liverpool and Manchester, either using a locomotive or fixed engines and cables. The prize was £500, the equivalent of more than £40,000 ($50,000) today.”

Why I like A Train Journey

Gérard Lo Monaco’s A Train Journey contains four iconic trains: The Rocket and The Flying Scotsman, both steam locomotives; New York City’s Elevated Railway or “EL Train;” and the Japanese bullet train, now running in Japan and Europe. The pop-up illustrations are colorful by the standards of the era. The four pop-ups are layered with three or four horizontal layers, most of the station where the train is easily in view. People, dressed in the era of the train are in most pop-ups as are the areas around the trains. Kids will love these pop-ups, as will train enthusiast who will appreciate the detail in each pop-up.

When first opening the pages of A Train Journey, it appears there are the pop-ups and nothing more. You must flip the pop-ups inside out to get to the back half where the text on each train is located. This information is very interesting and should not be missed. It’s too bad some kind of instruction was not given because some will not find this information or find it only after many viewings of these fantastic trains. A small amount of detail on each of these trains follows.

The Rocket steam engine locomotive is known for reliability and performance. Pulling a 1-ton load over 35 miles, at an average speed of 12 mph, it won the Rainhill Trials in England and its builder, George Stephenson, won a contract to build the train to run from London to Edinburgh. The Rocket is now on display at the National Railway Museum in York.

New York City’s Elevated Railway or “EL Train” was built when New York’s population doubled packing the streets with horses; with horses comes horse scat. As more and more train lines were built, they began to destroy the city’s landscape and its property values. The New York subway system led to the end of the EL. The last rail to be torn down was the Bronx EL in 1973.

The green train known as The Flying Scotsman began service in 1862. The stylish and speedy engine made the train world famous. It traveled the 492 miles between London to Edinburgh in 8 hours. On November 30, 1934 it became the first steam locomotive to reach a speed of 100 mph. In 2015, the Flying Scotsman was named the world’s most famous train.

The electric Japanese “high-speed rail” train called The Bullet or Shinkansen, opened to the Tokyo Olympics, in 1964. The electric lines made these trains much faster, setting new records. Similar trains quickly spread to Europe. During its first 40 years, these trains carried four billion passengers and ran over 200 mph. The trains are famous for its reliability, speed and safety; no deaths or injuries from opening day in 1964 to 2003 when a major derailment was caused by an earthquake, yet no one was hurt.

To Learn More About the Author/Artist Gérard Lo Monaco:  https://gerardlomonaco.com/

Available at Amazon:  A Train Journey 

A TRAIN JOURNEY. Copyright © 2020 by Gérard Lo Monaco. Published by Thames and Hudson, New York, NY.

Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[478—word count-review only]

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2 thoughts on “#1313 – A TRAIN JOURNEY by Gérard Lo Monaco

  1. I’ve always loved trains 🙂 We live 3 blocks up the hill from our local stop so we hear trains daily. My son occasionally hears the same train, though faintly, from where he lives now and he’s very sentimental about it 🙂 There’s just something about them ❤


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