10/1/10

Ladybug Nominee Profile

Inspired by the picture books of his own youth, Loren Long has created this heartwarming story of a tractor and his friends. In an interview about the book Long explains how he created the paintings for Otis. Activity pages and additional artwork that didn't make it into the book are included on the author's website. Otis was published by Philomel Books.

"Otis is a fun-loving tractor who roams the fields after a hard day's work and plays in the haystacks. In the barn one night, his engine provides a gentle purr that helps a frightened young calf fall into a peaceful sleep. The two become inseparable. That is, until the farmer decides to upgrade and brings home a brand-new, shiny yellow tractor and relegates Otis to the weeds behind the building. Having outlived his usefulness, Otis just sits there, impervious to the calf's call to play. But when his friend gets stuck in Mud Pond and no one-not even the fire department-can pull her out, the feisty tractor revs his
engine ("putt puff puttedy chuff") and saves the day. His heroism and concern
for a friend are themes that will appeal to young readers. Long's gouache and
pencil artwork is stunning with a red and cream main character against a
sepia-toned monochromatic background. The overall effect is nostalgic and
comforting as readers bond with the determined little tractor. In the end, Otis
finds a place on the farm where his engine's soft purr can be put to good use.
This satisfying conclusion that speaks of a place for everyone is sure to ring
true to children." (School Library Journal review, reommended for
PreS-Gr 2)

This is one of the ten titles nominated for the 2010 Ladybug Picture Book Award.

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