First Responder on the Farm! Otis And the Kittens by Loren Long
IT WAS HOT AND DRY ON THE FARM.
OTIS COULDN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME IT HAD RAINED.
It is a sun-baked fall in farm country, and Otis the tractor has done his part to bring the last bales of hay to the barn. Water is too low in the creek for the animals to cool off in, and it's too hot to enjoy the sunny days of early fall, but in the early evening, Otis can't resist the Bull's snorts that invite him to play tug-of-war with their friends.
One day Otis is keeping cool with the other animals under his apple tree when he spots something new.
IT LOOKS TO BE A TABBY CAT! WHERE DID SHE COME FROM?
OTIS WATCHED AS SHE RAN TOWARD THE OLD BARN.
AND THEN HE SAW SOMETHING THAT CAUSED HIS ENGINE TO SPUTTER... A SWIRL OF SMOKE!!
Instantly he sees the danger--a fire in the old barn filled with very dry bales of hay! With a huff and a chuff, Otis charges into the barn, where he sees the tabby cat in the loft with a litter of four little kittens, meowing for help. Otis entices the kittens down, and with them clinging to hi chassis, he takes them outside to safety. But the mother cat turns and rushes, meowing frantically, back into the flaming barn.
OTIS WAS AFRAID, BUT HE DASHED BACK INTO THE BURNING BARN.
THE LAST KITTEN'S HEAD POPPED UP, TREMBLING FROM FEAR.
Gently Otis coaxes the mother and kitten down and out of the barn, but as he starts out himself, the floor collapses under him. Fire Chief Douglas has arrived with his firetruck, but there is not enough water to put out the fire. How can Otis be saved?
It's Otis' friend the big Bull and his tug-of-war team to the rescue, and all's well that ends well for the doughty little tractor, in Loren Long's Otis and The Kittens (Philomel Books, 2016). There's plenty of suspense in Long's latest Otis adventure, with a happy story which celebrates courage and loyalty in exciting language that will please picture book fans of this happy little farm helper. Long's pencil and gouache illustrations are as pleasing as always, with skilled use of perspective and composition that makes this one a first-rate read aloud choice. For more fall farm fare, pair it with Loren Long's excellent Otis and the Scarecrow (see review here).