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4.1 22
by Loren Long

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In the short time that Otis has been in stores, readers-young and old-have taken to it in the same way that readers throughout the years have embraced many of our most celebrated picture books. Loren Long has created a story that is powerful in its simplicity and timelessness, one with a place on the shelf alongside the classics we all grew up reading. And now


In the short time that Otis has been in stores, readers-young and old-have taken to it in the same way that readers throughout the years have embraced many of our most celebrated picture books. Loren Long has created a story that is powerful in its simplicity and timelessness, one with a place on the shelf alongside the classics we all grew up reading. And now a whole new age group will fall in love with Otis, the friendly little tractor, thanks to this board book edition. Let the cries of putt puff puttedy chuff begin!

Editorial Reviews

Kristi Jemtegaard
How this little left-behind machine goes from has-been to hero is an all-too-familiar but nonetheless satisfying trope that will leave young readers with smiles as big as Otis's goofy grin. Loren Long's almost monochromatic palette, punctuated by reds and yellows, focuses all the attention exactly where it needs to be: on the David-and-Goliath disparity between Otis and his replacement.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Readers of classic children's books will find traces of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Little Toot and The Story of Ferdinand in this story of “a friendly little tractor.” Otis the tractor loves to work as much as he loves to play. When he snores in the barn, his “soft putt puff puttedy chuff” consoles a motherless calf. Otis and the calf become pals, and Long (who reillustrated The Little Engine That Could) pictures them sitting under a tree in Ferdinand the bull's iconic pose. Yet this idyll cannot last. Otis's owner (no loyal Mike Mulligan) purchases a huge “brand-new yellow tractor” and puts Otis out to pasture, where “the weeds began to cover his tires.” Only when the calf gets stuck in a muddy pond does Otis rev to the rescue. Long fashions Otis's headlamps as eyes and accents the charcoal gray and fawn brown gouache with apple red, buttery yellow and denim blue. Resurrecting stories of sweet machines aiding helpless animals is not easy in an era concerned with fossil fuels and feedlots, but Long's story should inspire readers to revisit old favorites. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Long's terrific fluid artwork...will entertain kids...even more, the tale's smoothly rounded nostalgic flare will charm adults tasked with reading the tale aloud.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Otis was a friendly little tractor who worked hard all day and played hard when work was done. One night, Otis calmed a scared baby calf with his "soft putt puff puttedy chuff" sound. That was it for the calf. From that time on the little calf followed Otis everywhere. They played games together and even sat under the apple tree together. When the farmer bought a brand-new big yellow tractor, Otis was relegated to a spot behind the barn. The little tractor was so depressed that he was no longer needed that he did not even play with the calf. All alone, the calf wandered off and got stuck in Mud Pond. She sank deeper and deeper no matter how hard the rescuers tried. Finally, Otis arrived and knew just how to get the little calf to come out of Mud Pond. While his artwork may be reminiscent of Virginia Lee Burton and Robert Lawson (you can see some strong resemblances to Ferdinand), Long's story and art are definitely his own. The landscapes are done in shades of browns and grays with muted color tones applied to the machinery, animals and people. They just pop off the page. Interesting roof angles, a farmhouse on stilts, and the retro look will intrigue young listeners. Children can easily relate to the story which unfolds at a very nice pace. The clean, crisp illustrations work beautifully together with this good old-fashioned story which is just perfect for storyhour. It is a great gift book. What a wonderful book for parents and young children to share! Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—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.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor ("putt puff puttedy chuff") with a Little Toot-style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author's track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Otis Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.26(w) x 10.78(h) x 0.50(d)
AD840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

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From the Publisher

Meet the Author

Loren Long grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. He pursued graduate-level studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago after graduating with a BA in Graphic Design/Art Studio from the University of Kentucky. After graduation Long worked as an illustrator for a greeting card company in Cincinnati before beginning his career as a freelance illustrator.

Since then, Long has received numerous accolades for his fluid WPA painting style. He has been awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York, and has been frequently selected for their annual exhibition and book. His work has also appeared in many other major annual exhibitions such as American Illustration, Communication Arts, Step By Step Graphics and Print.

Long’s clients include Time Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Boy’s Life, Land’s End, Sports Illustrated and HBO. He has also illustrated book covers for numerous publishers and has recently concentrated on illustrating books for young readers where his work has garnered much recognition and praise.

Recent awards/accolades:


The United Nations chose to hang in their lobby Long’s painting of a firefighter in action, along with 21 other selections from the Prevailing Human Spirit Show at the Society of Illustrators.


Recipient of the Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration, presented by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for I Dream of Trains. The book was also selected as one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2003.


Winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award.

Illustrates New York Times #1 best-seller, Mr. Peabody’s Apples

To learn more about Loren Long and his books, go to www.lorenlong.com

Customer Reviews

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Otis 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
GrandpaInTexas More than 1 year ago
I live in Texas and my grandkids are in Minnesota. I send them a book every month. I go into B&N to see what i want, then send it online. My grandson is 6 and is crazy about this book. He takes it with him when he visits people to show them and have them read it. His mom helps out at his school class on Wednesdays and he had her bring it to read to his classmates. He thanks me for it every time I talk to him on the phone. The story is so cute and the pictures are fantastic.
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
This is one of the books that I bought solely because I love, love, LOVE the artwork. Loren Long used a subdued color palette to create gorgeous, retro illustrations. Otis the tractor charmingly goofy (or goofily charming), and the calf from the back view looks almost exactly like my dog Sophie did when she was a puppy -- She's a fawn-colored Ridgeback and her ears used to stick almost straight out.  The story is timeless: Friends stick with you, friends help you out, friends make you feel special; so although this theme is used frequently in children's stories, I don't find it tired. And the story is well-told, and not overdone. This book is a must for any child interested in vintage vehicles from the '40s and '50s and appreciates a sweet story. Some of the renderings were accurate enough for my husband to identify them and he has restored two vintage cars and a truck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 3.5 year old loves this book. The illustrations are great, the story is great. Certainly a book that is going on my gify giving list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At school ms.nelson holons read it and i fell in love! It is so cute
bklvr67 More than 1 year ago
I love love love this book.  .  My grandson who is 2.5 loves this book whenever he sees it we have to sit and read it.  what a great story and fantastic pictures!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful in every way! Children, and everyone who reads this sweet book to a child, will fall in love with it. Lauren Long adds a classic to the list of "must reads" for children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nancy More than 1 year ago
 So cute!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great story about friendship and how knowing someone well enough to help them not be scared when their in trouble. I love to read this story to my son. I also have otis and the tornado and enjoy that story as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story -- very classic! I quickly read it in the store and it almost brought a tear to my eye. I'm sure it will appeal to both boys (the tractors) and girls (the cute calf). it's beautifully drawn and I can't wait to read it to my son tonight!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DAS-VA More than 1 year ago
I think this is a very nice story. I LOVE the illustrations, and it's a beautiful book. The story is meaningful and soothing, but I kept asking myself why I wanted to return to this book at bedtime and I got the "uhhhh, ok" response from my 5 year old. I think I've come to the conclusion that the story makes me feel nostalgic for what I feel was a simpler time, but my child doesn't get that feeling at all. That said, the message is well-received and it is a feel good story, if a bit slow for the kids. I would recommend this book, but don't be surprised if your kids aren't clamoring for it all the time...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loree18 More than 1 year ago
Otis is a good book to read to toddlers and young readers at bedtime. The story is cute. I bought this for my nephews birthday. The book is easy to read and is just the right length for a bedtime reading. I wish the story was a little more educational. It doesn't make a lot of since in some places. However, the illustrations are well done and it's a good book for any young child who likes farm equipment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm completely in love with this book about a lasting friendship. The artwork is gorgeous and cute at the same time. I plan to give this book as a gift and recommend it to many (4-8 year old) boys. It's a winner in my mind for sure!!! I'm confulsed about the low ratings that the one reviewer gave it because I didn't get that impression at all from the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this story very confusing. Why did the farmer bring home a calf without the mother? Why does Otis stop working when the yellow tractor arrives? Why does he abandon his friend, the calf, and sit behind the barn? How did the calf climb out of the mud puddle by turning in circles? I don't know if this story was meant to be depressing, but it is.