In the Stable: An Otis Christmas by Loren Long
IT WAS WINTER TIME ON THE FARM, WHERE THE FRIENDLY LITTLE TRACTOR NAMED OTIS LIVED.
SNOW COVERED THE HILLS, CHURCH BELLS RANG THROUGH THE COLD WINTRY VALLEY, AND CHRISTMAS WAS ALMOST HERE.
And to make things perfect, the farmer gives Otis his Christmas present, a shiny brass horn, early on Christmas Eve. Now Otis has a horn just like his friend the truck. Chuff chuff puff puttedy beep beep HONK!
It's a perfect Christmas Eve, until Otis wakes in the middle of the night to hear voices from the mare's stall near where he is parked. She is expecting a foal and things are not going well:
"WE NEED DOC BAKER!"
The roads are too drifted and icy for the truck to go for the doctor. Otis knows that only he can make it through the woods to Doc Baker's house and get him back to the barn in time to save the mare and her foal.
After many snowdrifts to overcome and a perilous slippery slope along the way, the little tractor finally puffs up at the good doctor's darkened house. Otis revs his engine and flashes his lights desperately. But there is no reaction from Doc Baker, still sleeping inside.
And then, just in time, Otis remembers his new horn, in Loren Long's latest tale of his doughty little tractor, An Otis Christmas (Philomel, 2013). Long's mega-charming artwork, with his palette of midwinter blues and the little tractor's old-fashioned, faded red and cream paint, lights up this familiar plotline with a fond glow that warms even the old barn with a Christmas radiance, as the new Christmas foal, with a white star on its forehead, watches the sun come up with his mother and Otis on Christmas Day.
Long's other Otis stories include Otis, Otis and the Puppy, and Otis and the Tornado. (See reviews here.)