Monday, October 17, 2011


Title: Otis
Category: Picture Book
Grades: 3-5 years
Author: Loren Long
Illustrator: Loren Long
Publisher: Philomel
Date: 2009

Similar to Brassy, the Fire Engine that Saved a City, the story of Otis revolves around a small farm machine, Otis, and his friendship with a young, lonely calf.  Otis is finally retired and left to sit out behind the barn while a big, yellow tractor is put in his place.  But when the calf becomes trapped in a mud hole, it is up to Otis to save the day and his friend. 

Though the art in the book is not highly saturated, it is very simple with strong lines and an attractive softness that makes Otis and his friends seem gentle and inviting, and gives the story a sense of peace.  Visually, the book is very interesting, which should appeal to the preschool age group.  The story is not terribly text heavy, but is more complex than books for younger children, and involves more characters, the main of which is a lovable fellow.  Preschoolers will also be able to relate to the problem of being smaller than others and feeling left out, but the story redeems Otis's small size by allowing him to become the hero.


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