Otis the retro tractor is back in the fifth installment of the popular series.
The farmer brought the scarecrow to the cornfield in late summer, and Otis is excited about a new friend. But when Otis chuffs over to meet the new friend, the scarecrow’s sour face leaves Otis cold. The other farm animals stop by, but they are met with the same sullen reception. They return to the farm, playing games to enjoy the passing of summer into autumn. They have a grand time together, but the scarecrow remains alone on the hill, with that same stern expression on his face. One day, with the winds howling and a stiff, cold rain pelting the scarecrow, Otis makes a decision. He chuffs up to the scarecrow and sits down next to him. The others watch from afar but soon join Otis. The whole crew plays the quiet game with their new friend, who, of course, wins. Teachers will see the connection between the lonely scarecrow and the outsider in the classroom and will be able to find many uses for this volume in the curriculum. Children will build their visual skills by noticing how the dark skies predict events to come and how the paintings of the lonely scarecrow evoke empathy.
Fans will enjoy this more cerebral Otis and might build a little empathy along the way. (Picture book. 4-8)