cover image Otis and the Puppy

Otis and the Puppy

Loren Long. Philomel, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25469-7

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%E2%80%937. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)