Saturday, December 3, 2011

obsolescence - weekend kids' library bag review

In our library bag this week:  Otis - written and illustrated by Loren Long

Toothless C, my six-year old wonder reader, was introduced to Otis in her first grade class.  She then asked to look up "Otis" in the online catalog, and anxiously tracked her finger down the L's until Otis was gleefully plucked from the shelf.  The reading level is rated by the publisher to be a broad "ages 4-8".  Toothless C and her four year old sister Wiggly M loved the book equally.  C found it an ideal reading ability match, with some pages chugging along as smoothly as Otis' "put-puff-puffity-chuff" engine, and others having a few challenge words.  M had it half-memorized by the third reading.

Otis is a beautifully illustrated story about a lovable tractor.  I mean that with all seriousness, despite reading Otis that first night in our suburban house in a small city in Illinois.  The illustrations pull on my dormant nostalgia for my Nebraska farm childhood, with thick outlines, colors pulled from ads in the 40s and 50s, and slight sepia overtones.  Otis the tractor becomes a dear friend of a newborn calf, and over the years they save each other in both physical and metaphorical ways. Otis prompted some wonderful bedtime conversations the four times we read it, ranging from perseverance to progress vs. industrial obsolescence. In elementary school terms, of course.

Bottom line:  I highly recommend Otis; we will be buying this one for keeps.

obsolescence - the process or condition of going out of date or being no longer in use.

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