Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Otis

This heartwarming picture book about a friendly little tractor named Otis will become the favorite of any little boy (or girl). Who wouldn't love a story where the farm is a playground, the farm animals are friends, and last but not least, the main character is a personified tractor with a very expressive face?

Title: Otis
Author/Illustrator: Loren Long
Publisher: Philomel Books, 2009
Fiction or non-Fiction: Fiction
Audience age: 4-8
Theme: Friendship, Loyalty, Perseverance, Books for Boys
Opening page: "There was once a friendly little tractor named Otis. Every day he and his farmer worked together taking care of the farm."

Synopsis: From author/illustrator Loren Long's website, "Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.

But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day."

Download the Otis-themed activity pageswhich includes maze, counting, coloring, and matching exercises.  
Watch a video featuring author/illustrator Loren Long, who explains his thought process in creating Otis.

Why I like this book:
This sweet story is well-written, with plenty of horseplay to keep young children --especially boys -- entertained. The illustrations are charming, a mix black and white with punches of color. The message of friendship is always a favorite of mine. And, who wouldn't love a book about a hero who is also an underdog?

Be sure to also check out the sequel, Otis and the Tornado, which was released September 2011.

For more Picture Perfect Books please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.


  1. Great selection for PPBF! Young children love stories about the underdog who saves the day. :)

    I like the resources also...Susanna's PPBF list is certainly going to be so valuable for any parent or teacher!

  2. I've seen some of the Otis books but never picked one up and read it. I'm going to pick one up the next time I see one in a bookstore or library!

  3. Like your pitch to Tamson. Sounds like one really cute story idea! :)

    1. Thanks J.R.! I appreciate you stopping by to let me know!

  4. What a sweet story of friendship, Tamson! I love vehicles/machines as protagonists!

  5. This reminds me of Dumpy the Dump Truck. Although I've not yet seen Otis, I have a feeling that Otis and Dumpy would make a very good pair!

  6. Oh we do love Otis in this house too! :-)

  7. I've seen this book on the shelf, but haven't read it. It sounds wonderful - vaguely reminiscent of Mike Mulligan, one of my all-time favorite books! Thanks so much for sharing it - I love getting books on the list that have boy appeal :)

  8. I just added my link and then I see you did this same book today! Great minds think alike :D Isn't it a lovely book? Otis is a great character. Great review too.

  9. I had the chills just reading your description. Sounds like a wonderful story. Adding it to my list!

  10. Great review! And, another book for boys. I'm not familiar with the Otis books. Sounds like a lovely book! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Ooh, I've got a little boy just crazy for tractors, and another crazy for cows. Sounds like a match made in heaven!

  12. sounds like a cute story. i had seen the book before but didn't bother to pick it up. now i will. :-)

  13. Wonderful choice and I really enjoyed the video of Loren talking about his process, that fascinates me. Beautiful book and thank you for sharing it!

  14. Lovely! Gotta have this one. It's WONDERFUL! Otis is so cute. The illustrations must be awesome. Thank you, thank you. :-)

  15. I am another one who has seen this book, but never picked it up. It sounds sweet. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  16. I love this book, too. Who knew a tractor could be that cute???? I just wanted to hug him.