Author / Illustrator: Loren Long © 2009
Publisher: Philomel Books
Genre: Children’s Books
Subgenre: Farm life, Cars, Trains & Things That Go, Friendship
Book received by: Gift
Synopsis: Otis the tractor loves his farm and the work he does there. His beloved farmer brings home a calf one day who is lonely and sad. The pair bond right away, beginning a fun-filled and deep friendship. When the farmer brings home a new, bigger tractor and moves Otis out to pasture, everything changes. Otis and his friend are separated…until one day when the calf gets into trouble. No one seems able to help her until Otis comes “putt-puff-puttety-chuffing” over the hill and to the rescue.
Busy moms (and dads), this delightful tale of friendship and trust is a must-have on the bookshelves. Dependable, hard-working and fun-loving Otis is a kindhearted member of the farm team who is beloved by the animals and the farmer. He develops a special bond with a young calf who comes to the farm but has trouble settling in. The pair revel in farm life until replacement and retirement moves Otis out of the barn and out of his routines. Otis’s experience is a reality for many adults, meaning the book carries lessons and relatable experiences for kids and parents alike. When the calf finds herself in deep trouble – literally – it’s the bond of friendship that helps her find her way out, offering another lesson (or reminder) for both kids and adults.
The book reads with an easy pattern and the illustrations paint vivid scenes of farm life. Long brings the emotions into the “body language” of his characters with ease in the way he shows Otis’s delight at bursting through hay stacks and dejection at being moved out of the barn. The book wraps up with a satisfying end, again underscoring the importance of friendship and trust, as well as adaptation to change. It’s a beloved story in our house, and I’m betting it will be in yours, too.
Have you read Otis or another Loren Long book? I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to the “to-read-and-review” shelf, especially children’s books by indie or newly published authors. If you have any to recommend, please share in the comments and many thanks!
Feature image: Cover art, © Loren Long