By Loren Long
Published by Philomel Books
Copyright © 2011
Otis is a little tractor on the farm. In his spare time he likes to play follow the leader with all of his barnyard animal pals. All of the animals on the farm love Otis, all except one, the bull. The bull wasn’t friendly with anyone, and even though Otis tried to be nice to him the bull was as cantankerous as ever. One day a tornado touches down on the farm and Otis tries to round up all his animal friends and get them to safety, but the bull is not Otis’ friend. Whatever will happen to him?
I liked the story of Otis, even if it is a tad predictable. It is a great book to show kids the power of kindness. Otis the tractor certainly personifies the lesson that a good person cares about everyone, even those who don’t seem to deserve it.
Even more than the story itself I love Long’s illustrations in this book. He contrasts the shiny red tractor and colorful animals with a stark, and eventually ominous, landscape. The green and gray in the sky when the tornado touches down is really quite eerie; it evokes that frightening feeling of an oncoming storm.
This is a great book for children ages 4 and up.