Otis and the scarecrow

Loren Long

Book - 2014

When the farmer places a scarecrow in the cornfield, Otis the tractor and the farm animals try to make friends, but the scarecrow remains silent with a sour look on his face throughout the summer and fall.

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Picture books
New York, NY : Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) [2014]
Main Author
Loren Long (author)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 x 29 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Otis, the friendly little tractor, is happy when the farmer mounts a scarecrow in the cornfield one late summer day. Otis presumes the newcomer is a potential pal and is quite disappointed when the scarecrow appears to only be interested in doing his job, never smiling and never acknowledging Otis or his farm animal friends. No one wants to approach the new arrival who wears a perpetual frown, and so he spends all his time alone. One cold, rainy fall day, amiable Otis decides the scarecrow looks too desolate, and he quietly moves to include him in the warm circle of friends. Appealing gouache-and-pencil illustrations in muted green, brown, and tan, with accents of red and orange, feature Otis with his doe-eye headlights and sweet demeanor and reveal true compassion. Images at the front of the framed illustrations are in focus, while the backgrounds are hazy, giving the art a pleasant perspective. Readers will enjoy this sixth tale of an admirable leader who does the right thing with quiet confidence.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Otis the tractor's goodhearted nature continues to shine in his fifth picture book. The farmer has just placed a new scarecrow in the cornfield, and the "sour look" permanently stitched onto the scarecrow's burlap head says plenty about its perceived attitude. As the days pass, the silent scarecrow remains indifferent to Otis and the farm animals below. Eventually, Otis finds a way to bring the scarecrow into the fun he and the animals are having-or at least to bring the fun to him. Although Otis himself is entirely animate, Long leaves the scarecrow's sentience an open-ended question. As the book comes to a close, Otis "couldn't be sure, but he thought he might have seen the scarecrow smile." Readers will have to hazard their own guesses, as the scarecrow's face is turned away from them in the final pages. Ages 5-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Otis is a friendly little tractor who lives on a farm. In the summer, the farmer adds a scarecrow to his cornfield. Always looking for a new friend, Otis tries unsuccessfully to engage the scarecrow, who just stares blankly out at the field with a permanent scowl on its face. The farm animals attempt to befriend the sour fellow with the same result. As the season begins to change, the crows no longer keep away from the scarecrow, who has otherwise remained alone. During an autumn, Otis and his friends surround the solitary scarecrow to ride out a storm, and though he never breaks his silence, they are convinced that he doesn't look so lonely anymore. Gouache and pencil illustrations capture the different seasons and characters' emotions. This quiet addition to the series uses the appealing familiar characters to address the notions of small kindnesses and compassion.-Laura Hunter, Mount Laurel Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Otis the retro tractor is back in the fifth installment of the popular series. The farmer brought the scarecrow to the cornfield in late summer, and Otis is excited about a new friend. But when Otis chuffs over to meet the new friend, the scarecrow's sour face leaves Otis cold. The other farm animals stop by, but they are met with the same sullen reception. They return to the farm, playing games to enjoy the passing of summer into autumn. They have a grand time together, but the scarecrow remains alone on the hill, with that same stern expression on his face. One day, with the winds howling and a stiff, cold rain pelting the scarecrow, Otis makes a decision. He chuffs up to the scarecrow and sits down next to him. The others watch from afar but soon join Otis. The whole crew plays the quiet game with their new friend, who, of course, wins. Teachers will see the connection between the lonely scarecrow and the outsider in the classroom and will be able to find many uses for this volume in the curriculum. Children will build their visual skills by noticing how the dark skies predict events to come and how the paintings of the lonely scarecrow evoke empathy. Fans will enjoy this more cerebral Otis and might build a little empathy along the way. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.