By Loren Long
Otis is a hard-working antique tractor. He befriends the new calf who comes to live on the farm, but before long Otis is “put out to pasture” with the arrival of a shiny new tractor. When the calf gets into trouble on a special day, Otis shakes himself out of his forced-retirement malaise to save the day.
The overt message of the book is the special friendship between Otis and the calf. Different groups take turns attempting to muscle the calf out of her predicament. Success comes from Otis and his calm, playful attention to his friend.
What I really love about the Otis books – besides the beautiful art and typeface – is the celebration of work and play. Otis loves to work, and he is very sad when he’s no longer allowed to work. Yet he also loves to play and to rest. A good role model for us all.