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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Otis Hardcover – September 22, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—Otis is a fun-loving tractor who roams the fields after a hard day's work and plays in the haystacks. In the barn one night, his engine provides a gentle purr that helps a frightened young calf fall into a peaceful sleep. The two become inseparable. That is, until the farmer decides to upgrade and brings home a brand-new, shiny yellow tractor and relegates Otis to the weeds behind the building. Having outlived his usefulness, Otis just sits there, impervious to the calf's call to play. But when his friend gets stuck in Mud Pond and no one—not even the fire department—can pull her out, the feisty tractor revs his engine ("putt puff puttedy chuff") and saves the day. His heroism and concern for a friend are themes that will appeal to young readers. Long's gouache and pencil artwork is stunning with a red and cream main character against a sepia-toned monochromatic background. The overall effect is nostalgic and comforting as readers bond with the determined little tractor. In the end, Otis finds a place on the farm where his engine's soft purr can be put to good use. This satisfying conclusion that speaks of a place for everyone is sure to ring true to children.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA END



Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: AD840L (What's this?)
  • Series: Otis (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; First Edition edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399252487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399252488
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I have always been a huge fan of the the American School painters of the 1920s and '30s and I was particularly inspired by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. I am also drawn to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) muralists. Many of these artists were from the Midwest, like me, and I felt a connection to them. They were storytellers.

That's what I like to do - tell stories. When I plan out the illustrations for a book, I pretend I'm making a movie. The words are like a screenplay and I'm choosing which scenes to bring to life.

Before THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD I never viewed myself as someone who would paint trains with eyeballs and cute little purple elephants. I began realizing who my audience is: little children who would actually be holding one of my books. I thought hard about the books I loved from my own childhood. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD was always one of my favorites, as was THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY, THE STORY OF FERDINAND and Virginia Lee Burton's books. I began thinking about creating books that, like these, might someday become a child's favorite. This is where the idea for OTIS started.

I approach both writing and illustrating enthusiastically. If I'm going to illustrate a manuscript that someone else has written, it's got to be something that I love. I have to love a story enough to do it and make it mine. I hope that doesn't sound overly egotistical. But I feel that the book becomes as much mine as the author's, and as much the author's as mine.

For about a dozen years after getting out of school, I did illustrations for greeting cards, theater posters and magazines. But you never meet your audience when you do a picture for a magazine and it's not really the product - you're just decorating the product. In book publishing, on the other hand, the book is the product. After illustrating my first book, I knew I loved children's publishing right away. I discovered that people cared - teachers, librarians, booksellers and kids. And I got to meet my audience.

This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I'm honored that several books that I've illustrated have received awards. Angela Johnson's I DREAM OF TRAINS won the Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators' Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration. TOY BOAT by Randall DeSeve was awarded the 2007 Publisher's Weekly Cuffie Award for Favorite Picture Book of the Year and the 2008 Great Lakes Book Award for Children's Picture Book. Walt Whitman's WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN'D ASTRONOMER was a Golden Kite Honor Book and also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Gold Award. I've also received two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators.

I live in Cincinnati with my wife and two boys, and two Weimaraners. If you'd like to learn more about my books, you can visit me at www.lorenlong.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"There once was a friendly little tractor. His name was Otis, and every day Otis and his farmer worked together taking care of the farm they called home. Otis liked to work.

Recalling his own childhood love for some classic picture books, Loren Long pays homage to the work of Robert Lawson and Virginia Lee Burton in OTIS.

OTIS is the story of a boisterous and dependable little red tractor who (as was Mary Anne the steam shovel), is facing being replaced, and the young calf (visually reminiscent of the young Ferdinand) who comes to live at the farm and is comforted at night by the "soft putt puff puttedy chuff" that emanates from Otis's stall.

Young readers will readily recognize a whole series of positive emotions depicted on the face of Otis as he works, plays, sleeps, teaches the calf to do a "hand"stand, and sits contemplatively under the tree on the hill (total shades of Ferdinand) alongside his young friend. Then there are the equally-clear expressions of negative feelings that well up when the new-and-improved giant tractor suddenly invades Otis's farm.

Otis is unmercifully banished from his stall and consigned to a patch of weeds behind the barn. But when the calf accidentally gets herself stuck in Mud Pond (with an attendant cast of characters reminiscent of the crowd that observes Mary Anne digging the cellar for the new town hall), there is only one person...err...faithful friend and personified machine...who knows how to help the calf get herself unstuck.

As with the cover art, Loren Long's illustrations throughout the first part of OTIS are soothing, being dominated by gentle browns, creams, and the deep cherry red of the little tractor.
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Format: Hardcover
"Otis" reminds me of a childhood favorite of mine. One of the first books I think I owned that I could read myself. That book was "Little Black a Pony" by Walter Farley (of "Black Stallion" fame). Farley's book told the story of a friendship between a boy and his pony. A close friendship that was interrupted when a big red horse came into the picture. The boy was intrigued by the bigger horse, but as it turns out old friendships are not to be easily forgotten, and Little Black saves the boys life when Big Red cannot because of his size.

In a sense, "Otis" is like this older book, and I couldn't help liking it for that reason, because Otis, the little red tractor, is supplanted by a Big Yellow tractor. That is, until he proves himself to loyal and true to his friends.

Talking Points:::
Comparisons aside, Loren Long has produced a charming book with fantastic artwork that is so sweet and funny that my children wanted to read it with me over and over again. As you can see from the cover Loren has done most of the drawings in a monochrome, which is spiced up with splashes of color. That effect simply adds to the charm.

"Otis" is sure to please most children: toddler thru 7 or 8 year old.

o Accelerated Reading -- generic "2"

Pam T~
mom and reviewer at BooksForKids-reviews
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully written, illustrated, and published. The cadence of the story when read aloud is fluid and pleasant, and the illustrations greatly enhance the experience. I would highly recommend this selection for parents or teachers of early elementary-aged children searching for a positive story of true, lasting friendship.
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Format: Hardcover
Otis was a wide-eyed happy little tractor who loved to help the farmer work the land. After a day of work he was ready to let loose and let his playful side take over. He buzzed up and down hillsides and skirted "Mud Pond down by the corn" rousting the ducks from in between the rows. He jumped over the haystacks and whooops . . . burst through some of them blasting the hay all over the field. Otis would sometimes "chase a rabbit or play ring-around-the-rosy with the ducks." Sometimes it was just nice to nestle up underneath the gnarly old branches of the apple tree and watch the goings on of the farm.

At night he would putt putt putt himself into the barn and fall fast asleep in his stall. One night there was a bit of unexpected company. It was a frightened little calf who was determined to bawl the night away. Otis's "soft putt puff puttedy chuff" slowly calmed the calf and she "drifted off to sleep." Zzzzzz! Soon they were fast friends and you didn't see one without the other until one day Otis himself was put out to pasture when he was replaced with a newfangled yellow tractor. They were both lonesome without the other because a yellow tractor split them apart. On one warm day the little calf ambled on down to the Mud Pond to cool off, but when she "waded into the muddy water," she got mired in the muck. No one, including the fire truck nor the yellow tractor could save her. What would become of Otis's best friend?

I loved the story of Otis and the little calf, a story of an unlikely friendship if there ever once was, except perhaps that one of Bella and Tarra. We all have unlikely friendships or things that we value and children can easily relate to this fact.
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