Loni Edwards

Illustration and Paintings in Digital, Watercolors and Ink

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Otis

My choice this week for Perfect Picture Book Friday is a fun tale about a little tractor and his friendship with a calf.


Title:  Otis

Author/IllustratorLoren Long

Publisher:  Philomel Books (division of Penguin Young Readers)

Age Range:  5 and under

Themes:  Friendship, Acceptance


There was once a friendly little tractor. His name was Otis, and every day Otis and his farmer worked together taking care of the farm they called home. Otis liked to work.

This is a story of a little tractor and a calf who is his friend. They are very happy until the farmer buys a new tractor. Otis is retired behind the barn. When there is an emergency at the farm, it is Otis, who saves the day!


Loren Long has some activities on his site

Kidsuki has some really cute tractor coloring pages

Activity Village has more coloring pages.  These are farm animals.

What I like about this book:

I love stories that root for the underdog. I also like stories that show an appreciation for the elderly (in this case, an old tractor). The idea that older people/things have value even though we get new stuff is a fantastic thing to pass on to our kids. It is a classic theme that works time and time again in children’s books. The art style that Loren Long used for this book reminds me of an older illustrative style, which I really enjoyed. He explains more about that in this video about Otis:



Perfect Picture Book Fridays are a weekly blog event where participants review some of their favorite picture books. The posts are compiled on author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. They are categorized by theme to help parents, educators and readers find the perfect picture book easily. To learn more, please visit Susanna’s site where you will find the complete PPBF’s library.

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  1. Susanna Leonard Hill 17/02/2012

    This looks like such a nice book! I love that it’s about friendship and kindness in a scenario that might appeal to boys. As I said on Nessa’s site, although I haven’t read this yet, there’s something about it that reminds me of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, which is one of my all-time favorite books. i’m going to have to search this one out! thanks for sharing!

    • Loni Edwards 17/02/2012

      Hi Susanna,

      Yes, I thought the same thing about Mike Mulligan! The style he used was so classic. I love it.

  2. Joanna Marple 17/02/2012

    I too am moved by stories that remind us all that there is still great value in the elderly and older possessions. There are things they know and can do that the younger can’t. It sounds a very endearing tale. Also love the name, OTIS!

    • Loni Edwards 17/02/2012

      Yes, isn’t that a great name? I am also moved by stories that teach the value of the elderly. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Renee LaTulippe 17/02/2012

    This looks adorable and just perfect for my tractor-crazy little guy! I’m all for the underdog. Lovely review. 🙂

  4. Margaret 17/02/2012

    Great review — I like that you caught the respect for the old theme. It’s an even more perfect picture book than I thought! 🙂

  5. Kirsten Larson 17/02/2012

    It reminds me of “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” by Virginia Lee Burton. We’ll have to check it out.

  6. Patricia Tilton 17/02/2012

    Great review. Enjoyed the video so much as I like hearing what inspired the author. I enjoy stories about an old tractor that still has its place.

  7. Heather 17/02/2012

    Another Otis review, it must be a book worth having! I picked up a copy of last week’s recommendation, The Curious garden, and it is every bit as wonderful as you said it would be. Thank you!

    • Loni Edwards 17/02/2012

      Hi Heather! So glad you liked Curious Garden. It’s a wonderful book. And yes, I agree, when there is two reviews on the same day, you know the book must be a gem 🙂

  8. Stacy S. Jensen 17/02/2012

    Thanks for another great recommendation. I really enjoyed the video. The illustration technique looks interesting. Otis looks vibrant, but the overall illustrations appear dark.

    • Loni Edwards 18/02/2012

      HI Stacy! I’m glad you liked the video. The illos are in mono chromatic, but the pops of color really stand out. I really didn’t get a dark feeling from them. Maybe it is the cute style in which he drew. It really worked.

  9. Robyn Campbell 17/02/2012

    Okay! Two of the same reviews on the same day. This book has got to be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which means, Robyn has got to make the purchase. That is all there is to it. Otis sounds and looks so cute. The art looks like days of old. Thank you so much for a great review! *waving*

  10. Amy Dixon 18/02/2012

    Another Otis!! I guess I’m supposed to read this one…must be fate. Thanks for the recommendation!

  11. Beth Stilborn 18/02/2012

    Otis is a popular little guy! But then, who could resist that cover illustration? And the story sounds great. As I mentioned to Nessa, this reminds me of Dumpy the Dump Truck, a book I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. I think Dumpy and Otis would make great friends!

  12. Eric Van Raepenbusch 18/02/2012

    Great pick! I love the illustrations in this book!

  13. patientdreamer 19/02/2012

    mmm…. I am wondering if I can use your review or at least the book story to my hubby in explaining why I just can’t thow out some of my old “junk”…. do you think it will work? 🙂
    Love the cover of this and the review, thanks Loni.

  14. theartofpuro 19/02/2012

    Thanks for sharig:)It looks great:)

  15. Penny Klostermann 20/02/2012

    Both Otis books in one week and both are such perfect books. You’re right about the artwork…you said it perfectly.

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