Title: The Last Train
Author: Gordon Titcomb, Foreword by Arlo Guthrie
Illustrator: Wendell Minor
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Concepts: transportation, technological change, jobs
Review: Not only did steam locomotives revolutionize the way people traveled during the 1800s, they also led to the construction of railroad stations and small depots across the country. The trains required conductors, engineers, and porters, and the stations needed ticket agents, all contributing to new jobs. Over time, though, technological change brought other modes of transportation, and a number of those little railroad stations outlived their usefulness and fell to disrepair.
With its sentimental lyrics and rich paintings, this book presents a nostalgic look at the steam locomotives and small railroad stations of past days. The song and artwork can be use to initiate discussions with young learners about how modes of transportation and the jobs they entail have changed over time. Observant readers will also notice the predominance of men in the railroad jobs, a labor market feature that has changed with the entry of women in non-traditional occupations.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children