Read Aloud Hall of Fame #12: OTIS by Loren Long
You need a book. A can’t miss book. A read aloud that will cast a wide net and pull everyone in. This is the idea behind The 100 Scope Notes Read Aloud Hall of Fame.
In each post I’ll share a read aloud that has never let me down. Some will be obvious and popular. Others lesser-known. All will be story time gold.
Otis by Loren Long
When it comes to picture books “timeless” can often be code for “maybe kids 100 years ago would have liked this story, but that’s not the case anymore”. The real trick is creating a book that feels like it could exist in any era AND pull readers in each and every time.
Loren Long accomplishes off that rare feat with Otis. I know this book about a little tractor gets a good amount of love (heck, you see that sticker on the cover – they even made it into a television series), but I still feel like we still don’t talk enough about this book and the near-magical powers of storytelling it possesses.
Otis loves his job. When spring arrives he befriends a newborn calf. The two are inseparable until the farmer replaces Otis with a new tractor. Otis is moved out back and slowly becomes resigned to his fate as a has-been, until the calf gets stuck in the mud. When all rescue attempts fail, Otis returns to save his friend
Take this classic story of purpose and friendship and layer in perfect pacing, tension-building page turns, and a text that begs for children to read along (“Putt Puff Puttedy Chuff”) and you have a book that’s timeless in the best possible way. Pull this one out any time and you’ll be glad you did.
Filed under: Read Aloud Hall of Fame
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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