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  • Where the Board Books Are


Otis by Loren Long

Otis, Otis, Otis. That's what we read. All day! (Or at least it seems that way.) A lengthier book than most board books, Otis is the story of a tractor and his little friend the calf. Otis is a lively red tractor who enjoys his work on the farm, but after a hard day of work is ready to play. Exploding through haystacks is a particularly fun game for Otis. (Illustration below.)

Otis by Loren Long

One day a great big yellow tractor replaces Otis on the farm and Otis is parked alone behind the barn, gradually becoming surrounded by tall grass and ivy. Nobody likes the big yellow tractor, especially the calf, and Otis becomes very sad. Did anyone need him anymore? Yes! The calf, wondering around the farm, wades into Mud Pond to get cool, but gets stuck. All the farmhands, the big red fire truck, and even the big yellow tractor try to get the little calf out of the pond but to no avail. It's now up to Otis to save the day. The gentle "Putt puff" of his engine is soothing to the little calf and as he circles Mud Pond the little calf follows the sound of his purring engine and springs himself free. Everyone cheers for Otis; he feels proud and wanted again.

From that day on Otis did not feel lonely anymore and he and the little calf would sit beneath the apple tree and watch the farm below.

Otis by Loren Long

A great little story and there are four others with a fifth on the way. The story also reminds me of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. In that story, too, the steam shovel eventually feels unwanted and it's not until a crisis arises that everyone appreciates what he has to contribute.

The illustrations in Otis are also very unique with their sepia-hugh and bright red color accents----almost like something out of a Pixar Short.

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