Locomotion

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Locomotion Book Poster Image
Boy's writings are lyrical, yet seamless and real.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Several products mentioned favorably, including Twinkies.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this journal in poetry by an 11-year-old boy may inspire children to try their own journal, and teachers may be inspired by the assignments Lonnie is given.

User Reviews

Adult Written byluckey April 9, 2008

Cleverly written

I thought Locomotion was a great book. I really enjoyed reading the different types of poetry. The Story line was great and I wanted to keep reading until I fin...
Parent of a 17 year old Written bymcdonalde January 29, 2010
i think it is kind of good but the cover is lame becase is black
Teen, 17 years old Written bycorey9113 April 9, 2008

I didnt care too much for it.

The Story Line was very Well thought. But the form of the book made it boring..
Teen, 14 years old Written bymiiss lewis April 18, 2011
love this book very understanding, is about things young teens go through every day.

What's the story?

In a series of free-verse and other forms of poems, Lonnie, having lost his parents four years ago in a fire when he was seven years old, tells about his life. He is separated from his sister and living in a foster home with an elderly woman, Miss Edna. He loves his sister, but sees her infrequently, as her new parents don't like boys. But Ms. Marcus, his teacher, tells him he has a gift, and encourages him to express his thoughts and feelings in writing.

Is it any good?

Woodson creates a voice that is lyrical, yet seamless and real, and packs a surprising amount of intellectual and emotional material into this short, simple book.

Writing novels in free verse has become quite a trend since Out of the Dust won the Newbery Award. It's a form that can be awkward and even silly if not handled well, and too often the form and subject don't match, making the reader wonder why the author chose to write the story this way. But rarely, if ever, have form and subject matched as perfectly as they do here.

The reason for the poetry is part of the story -- it starts as assignments from a fifth-grade teacher, and then takes on a life of its own as Lonnie discovers his talent -- and his voice. He has suffered great loss, but his life is improving, and his chronicle of past and present is powerfully poignant as he tries out a number of poetic forms, and comments on the art of writing as well as his life and thoughts. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about journals. Do you keep a journal? Why do you think writing down one's thoughts helps people so much?

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