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Once they were a familiar sight: iron horses belching smoke and steam, chugging out of depots and racing across the countryside. Those spectacular steam locomotives are gone. But in this fascinating book, Karl Zimmermann, an authority on trains, takes young readers back to a colorful era of railroad history. He traces the development of the steam locomotive from early engines, such as the little Tom Thumb, to "Big Boy," the largest locomotive ever built. He explains how steam locomotives work; how they are classified; why they were vanquished by the diesel; and why those magnificent machines still hold us spellbound. Chock-full of facts, and featuring stunning full-color and archival photographs of steam locomotives in the United States, Canada, and other countries, this book will fire the imagination of any young reader who ever dreamed of getting behind the throttle of a mighty steam locomotive.
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Karl Zimmermann has written or co-authored fifteen books, all in one way or another about trains, including Magnetic North: Canadian Steam in Twilight (with Roger Cook); A Decade of D&H; Domeliners: Yesterday's Trains of Tomorrow; and 20th Century Limited. Mr. Zimmermann lives in Norwood, New Jersey.From Booklist:
Gr. 4-8. A noted train authority and photographer shares his love of smoking iron horses of the past, recalling his childhood fascination with steamers and describing the history of locomotives, beginning with Englishman George Stephenson's 1825 design of the Locomotion. Zimmermann also explains the Whyte Classification System for categorizing trains (which involves counting the number of wheels), as well as the names given to locomotives, the track gauges, and the inner workings of these complex machines. Crisp, clear photographs appear on nearly every page, adding interest and extending the text. Captions clearly indicate when the trains pictured are located in countries other than the U.S. Web sites noting American steam engines that operate for tourists and a glossary round out this informative photo-essay that will be popular with train enthusiasts everywhere. Kay Weisman
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