• Otis
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Otis
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
"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. In sharp contrast, the new tractor is a glaring and intrusive shade of yellow with sharp lines and a visage that gives off no hint of humanity inside.

Fortunately, the calf's rescue causes Otis to once again be recognized as being of value. He is assigned a series of satisfying tasks around the farm and, having thus regained a good measure of contentment through being productive, "at the end of the day, Otis would just sit with his friend under the apple tree and watch the farm below."

What makes OTIS extra-special is that on top of there being such a great interplay of text and illustration, on top of Loren Long's great use of figurative language and visual allusion, and on top of the important intergenerational theme, there is a high level of action and hijinx in the text and illustrations -- call it a "gross motor" book -- that will enthuse the most demanding members of any young audience.

I'm just hoping that they are considering printing up some Otis teeshirts for those of us who are totally in love with this crazy little tractor dude and his bovine sidekick.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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. Some things are tangible like the attachment to a toy, but extra special are the friendships they make. The old-fashioned looking artwork is marvelous and contributes a great deal to the appeal of the story. Otis is one story that is almost guaranteed to become a classic. Just get used to the fact that you'll be reading this one to your youngster over and over again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2014
Wonderful story and good for children to know little about farming world by pictures.My daughter is 9 months old and she loves picture book and this is one she like every afternoon read.She always bring the book to me when she like to read and in this book she really admire farming land,tractor,calf,birds which she seen in real to relate it to this book.

Good book to introduce your child about farm lands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
Loren Long's OTIS tells of a tractor that loves his farm and farmer and becomes friends with a calf in the next stall. When a big yellow tractor comes to the farm to replace Otis, he begins to rust away until his calf friend needs help only Otis can provide. A fine story evolves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2009
Great book! I would highly recommend it. Very well illustrated and easy for my 4-yr old to follow. This is my son's new favorite book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
This caught my eye because although my son is a bit beyond picture books, he loves everything car-truck-tractor related. I immediately fell in love with the illustrations/artwork when I saw the book at my local book store, and now that we've checked out the book from the library and read the story, I love that too!

Beautiful artwork and a very sweet story!

Now that we waited to read it until we could check it out of the library, I realize that this will be one we will read many many times, and so I plan to purchase it as soon as possible!

This has been a hit with both my son and daughter; it has a little something for everyone.

Kudos to Amazon for including the video clip of the author discussing the story and the technique used for the artwork!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Otis, the tractor, loves his life on the farm. He diligently works the field all day, then relaxes at night chasing rabbits, playing with the ducks, or just sitting under the apple tree. Life become even sweeter when the calf moves in and he has a friend to share in the fun. Then, big yellow tractor moves in, and Otis is left in the weeds. Life isn't great any more for Otis, and not even calf can get him to play. Then calf gets in trouble and no one but Otis can save him, but will Otis leave the weeds to save the day?

A great tale about friendship and life changes. Students from rural areas will appreciate the farm-life aspect, but all students can relate to the story of friendship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2011
This book was an instant hit with my 17 month old son. He grabs it multiple times a day to have it read to him. He laughs every time I read about Otis exploding through haystacks and smiles at the "putt puff puttedy chuff" parts. The illustrations are beautiful, with a nostalgic, comforting quality. Often times, my son won't let me turn the page so that he can look at the pictures and point out all the components (firetruck, motorcycle, dogs, birds). It's also a very sturdy, well-made board book which I expect to last for years (even with my son's less than gentle treatment of his books) which is a good thing as I imagine this will continue to be a favorite for quite a while.
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