Book Review: Otis

Otis, the eponymous star of a new picture book by Loren Long, is a cute tractor with a happy face and the general appearance of a toddler in a baseball cap. He’s the only tractor on the farm, and he does the big jobs—but not well enough, apparently.

After a few pages of workdays, the farmer dumps Otis in the field behind the barn and replaces him with a new, faceless tractor. It’s only after the replacement fails to rescue Otis’ best friend, a calf, from a mud puddle that everyone realizes Otis’ value lies in his love of the farm. Nevertheless, Otis doesn’t get his job back, or any job at all—more a sort of respectable retirement.

The illustrations are merry and sweet and very much in the spirit of Virginia Lee Burton, but the story itself never quite comes together. Still, truck- and tractor-obsessed toddlers will love Otis.

KJ Dell Antonia

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