Reviews for Otis and the Puppy


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #1
After a hard day at work, a friendly little tractor named Otis likes to wind down with a game of hide-and-seek with his barnyard friends. That group gets one member bigger the night a puppy comes to live at the farm. He's a happy little guy, licking and playing and sleeping up a storm. But he whimpers upon nightfall. So begins the puppy's habit of sleeping on Otis' seat. When a game of hide-and-seek goes awry and the puppy ends up lost in the woods--shown as a page full of black behind the spooked pup--Otis must use his headlights to scour the forest for his frightened friend. Plot isn't the point here--Otis finds the puppy, and that's pretty much the end. What's more valuable is the softly delivered example of true friendship and how it means not giving up on a pal. In sepia-toned illustrations, Long depicts Otis as a surprisingly agile machine with Thomas the Tank Engine-style features and other anthropomorphized attributes (His heart ached deep inside his engine). Simple but moving. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
In his latest story of selfless bravery, little tractor Otis loves to play hide-and-seek with his farm-animal friends. He welcomes a new puppy to the game, and when the pup gets lost in the woods, Otis must face his own fear of the dark to save his scared little friend. Refined gouache and pencil illustrations emit warmth despite their muted tone.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
Lovable Otis the tractor is back for a third adventure, in which he overcomes his fear to help out a new canine friend. Otis and his animal buddies, including the calf and bull from previous titles, play hide-and-seek after working on the farm. With a "one-putt, two-puff, three-puttedy four-chuff," Otis begins his turn as "it," which he especially likes. One day, the farmer brings an adorable young pup to the farm, and he immediately wins the hearts of all with his wriggling and wagging and an abundance of wet kisses. But after night falls, the puppy whimpers when he is left alone in his very dark doghouse outside the barn. Otis invites him inside to sleep next to him, and a special friendship forms. The story takes a turn when the puppy, instead of hiding as he is supposed to, gets distracted. In this spread, Long separates the text from what he depicts in the classic-feeling illustrations in gouache and pencil. While the language describes Otis discovering his friends in their silly hiding places--bull is "behind a lone dandelion"--a series of spot images shows the pup following a butterfly until he becomes hopelessly lost in the dark forest. Long contrasts the bright daytime farm scenes with the deepest darks of night to heighten the drama, for Otis must first cope with his own fear of the dark before rescuing his friend. Fans of Otis will not be disappointed with the satisfying ending that results in a creative solution and a most happy reunion. Seek this out--"game on!" (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #2

Otis, the doe-eyed tractor who befriended a lonesome calf and squared off against a tornado in his first two books, now takes an adorable puppy under his muffler. New to the farm, the long-eared pup is petrified to sleep alone in the dark: "With a chuff, Otis invited him into the barn, where the puppy curled up and fell fast asleep. From that night on, the puppy would slink from his doghouse into the barn with Otis, where he felt safe." But when the puppy wanders away and doesn't return by nightfall, Otis's protective instincts kick into high gear and he careens into the darkness, his headlight producing only a meager glow in the vast, rural night: "He circled and crisscrossed the forest, making sure to see every possible place a puppy could hide." Long's gouache and pencil illustrations in burnished metallic tones recall rustic, Depression-era farm life. By his third adventure, this earnest tractor's courage in the darkest hours makes him as reliable as Lassie or the Little Engine That Could. Ages 3-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Otis, the doe-eyed tractor who befriended a lonesome calf and squared off against a tornado in his first two books, now takes an adorable puppy under his muffler. New to the farm, the long-eared pup is petrified to sleep alone in the dark: "With a chuff, Otis invited him into the barn, where the puppy curled up and fell fast asleep. From that night on, the puppy would slink from his doghouse into the barn with Otis, where he felt safe." But when the puppy wanders away and doesn't return by nightfall, Otis's protective instincts kick into high gear and he careens into the darkness, his headlight producing only a meager glow in the vast, rural night: "He circled and crisscrossed the forest, making sure to see every possible place a puppy could hide." Long's gouache and pencil illustrations in burnished metallic tones recall rustic, Depression-era farm life. By his third adventure, this earnest tractor's courage in the darkest hours makes him as reliable as Lassie or the Little Engine That Could. Ages 3-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

PreS-Gr 2--In this fourth installment about a big-eyed, hardworking tractor, it is spring, and there is a new puppy on the farm. After Otis rescues the whimpering pooch from the doghouse (and the dark) the first night, the two become fast friends. Painterly gouache and pencil illustrations have panoramic views, and stars and headlights shine through the dark of twilight and forest. And that is where the puppy gets lost one evening, after playing hide-and-seek. When the sun sets, and the search party gives up until dawn, Otis confronts his own fear of the dark and forges ahead amid spooky animal silhouettes and long shadows. As the two make their way home together, the night sounds are somehow no longer so frightening. Older readers will delight in Long's use of idioms, and younger children will appreciate the loyalty of a true friend and understand the terror, not of darkness, but of aloneness. Otis will win readers' hearts.--Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

PreS-Gr 1--Otis the tractor is back for a third adventure. Familiar animals from the previous books, including Otis's friends the calf and the bull, play hide-and-go-seek after chores each day. The new puppy joins the fun, but gets lost during a game one evening. After the farmer ends the search for the day, Otis's concern is reflected in the illustrations and the narration as the tractor worries about the puppy, who is just as afraid of the dark as he is. Set against a backdrop of stars and a shadowy forest populated with the silhouettes of animals lurking in the woods, Otis counts through his fear before turning on his headlight and motoring around the woods seeking his new friend. As his familiar cadence proceeds, Otis gains more confidence. When he finds the puppy, those scary shapes become a crowd of familiar onlookers--deer, rabbits and raccoons--cheering on the puppy and the tractor to a successful conclusion. Chris Sorenson's narration maintains the warm tone of the story. Page-turn signals are optional. Listeners may want to linger over Long's illustrations and are likely to enjoy the story multiple times.--Janet Thompson, Chicago Public Library, West Belmont Branch, IL

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