(Suggested reading level: Preschool through grade 2)

Otis is an adorable picture book with a great message. Friends are there for you, no matter how deep in the mud you are.

Otis is a little tractor who loves his farm and works hard for the farmer. He also loves to play and his best friend is a young calf who sleeps in the stall beside him and plays in the fields with him. One day a big, new yellow tractor arrives on the farm, taking Otis’ place. Otis is left out back, weeds grow around his tires, he feels old and useless and doesn’t even want to play anymore.

Then the poor calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. No one can help her, until Otis puffs his way down the hill and rescues her. From that day on, the farmer learns that while the new tractor is great in the field, Otis still has a special place and use on the farm.

I have to admit that I had tears in my eyes by the end of the story. I loved that Otis realized he was still important, that his friend still loved him, that he could still be useful around the farm, play in the fields and sit under the apple tree.

If you have a young child, pick this one up. It’s a good one.

Purchase Otis on Amazon or through an Indie bookstore.

40 pages
Published Sept. 22, 2009 by Philomel

4½ out of 5 stars

I read Otis as part of the Choose to Read Ohio program. Loren Long, the writer and illustrator, lives near Cincinnati, Ohio.