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Otis Hardcover – September 22, 2009
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From School Library Journal
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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"
mom and reviewer at BooksForKids-reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just met Otis this holiday season and got this book for a little friend who loves Thomas the Train Engine! There are other books where Otis goes on farm adventures. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Mary by the Sea
We love Otis around here. The series is really quality and the characters are endearing.Published 1 month ago by Hal
You really can't go wrong with Otis! Especially if you have little ones who like tractors and farm animals. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maria Hester
Great story! My students wanted me to read it to them immediately again when I finished.Published 1 month ago by Sigmasis
Our boys love the Otis books. The illustrations hold their attention, and the stories are written in a way that builds anticipation for a well crafted conclusion.Published 1 month ago by Luke Dary
My 4 year old granddaughter loves this book especially she has a plush tractor to hold when I read to her.Published 3 months ago by Pacis Wann