NCTE's annual convention is getting down to the exhibits. Though finding time to get there is challenging, it is interesting to have time to visit the booths of publishers to see what new picture books are on their way to the world. This year one of my favorite finds was at the Penguin table. There I found Otis and the Puppy by Loren Long scheduled to arrive on shelves March 12, 2013.
Our class had just read, Otis, before I left for NCTE. When I arrived with a sneak peek at the newest book about Otis my students were absolutely thrilled. Young readers enjoy seeing the same character return in new picture books. My class had fallen in love with Otis in his first book, and couldn't wait to see what adventures were ahead in this new story.
In, Otis and the Puppy, Otis lives happily on a farm where he busily helps the farmer and plays with his friends. One day the farmer introduces a new puppy to everyone. The puppy is supposed to be living in his doghouse in the front of the barn, but he is sad and lonely being there all by himself. Otis the tractor comes quickly to the rescue. The puppy and Otis become fast friends.
Days later the two are playing hide-and-seek near the woods. The puppy becomes distracted by a butterfly and is soon lost. Everyone is looking for the puppy, but he cannot be found. When night falls, Otis is worried about his friend being out in the dark all alone so he decides to leave the barn to find him. Will Otis be able to help puppy this time? Will Otis be able to overcome his own fears of the dark to help his friend?
As you would expect, the illustrations in Long's book complement the story. Long's story moves from full page illustrations to small scenes arranged within the text. I always think these small pictures sprinkled within the text move the story along nicely and work well with the longer pauses of larger illustrations. The way he moves from the bright colorful pictures of two friends playing together to the darker colors of night creates an unsettling feeling as young readers hope these two friends find one another again.
Our class loved this book, and cannot wait until it's March arrival so we can get a copy everyone can check out to read at home. We also look forward to being able to add it to our Shelfari shelf of books we've read. (You should have heard the students when the book wasn't even on Shelfari yet.)