Locomotive & Buffalo Burgers

locomotiveTitle: Locomotive 

Author: Brian Floca

Copyright: 2013

Caldecott Award Winner – and many more!

Checked out from the library per little man’s request.

We were waiting for the elevator in the children’s section and my son became very excited. The book, Locomotive, was in a display. Little Man announced that we had to get this book as well. It’s an Award Winner! He knows that this sort of endorsement would prompt me to up the book ration. I did. I’m a sucker for the Award books. I have not yet regretted picking one up.

Locomotive is the story of the railroad and a family’s westward journey. The book shares how the railroad was built and the Gold Rush. The story would be equally appealing to both boys and girls. Because of this, I would strongly recommend this title as a companion to a historical spine; either for a homeschooling family or classroom read-aloud. Each job on the train is described as well as the steam engine. This could easily be expanded into mechanical study for an older student in the family. We also learn some of how the trains communicate with each other and people at the stations through their ‘toot’ language. Throughout the family’s journey, we see the places they’ve passed through in beautiful illustrations. We took this opportunity to break out the maps and follow along.  We learn about what life was like on one of the early trains and in America during that time period. Much of the perspective is that of a child in the family which keeps the book from becoming dry with factual content. Indeed, given all of the learning activities that we were able to develop out of this book, one might think that we wore it out. But truly, the kids asked for it again and again. They enjoyed the story and the learning was just a byproduct. I guess that’s why this selection is such the award winner.


Buffalo Burgers (inspired by Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburgers found here)

2# buffalo (or ground beef, or a mix of both)
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c bread crumbs
Worchesire Sauce
Garlic Salt
6 or 7 slices cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Mix ingredients from meat to pepper and pat evenly into 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Meat will pull in and give off some fat – how much fat depends on the kind of meat you choose. Top with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese melts. Serve on slider rolls.

Delish! (I like mine topped with a little steak sauce but everyone else went the classic route of ketchup, mustard & pickle)


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