A burly man in a plaid shirt and baseball cap addresses his tractor as “Ol’ Partner,” reminding his green-painted friend of all the jobs they do together over the course of one agricultural year, from spring to winter.
The type on the cover emphasizes the word “big,” and the tractor’s increasing size on the title and acknowledgment pages confirms that the tractor is indeed the book’s star. In the first spread of the actual story, it looms so large in the foreground that just a fraction of its large girth is depicted, while in the background, the farmer slides open a door and says, in boldly lettered words, “Wake up, Ol’ Partner. It’s springtime!” Impressive graphics on a series of spreads show different tools hooked up to the tractor as it assists with tasks throughout the seasons, ending with a lovely post-harvest activity. Young children will enjoy the frequent appearances of a woman in pink and a child—probably male—in green, who sometimes help with activities and are obviously part of the farm family. The boy, who shows subtle growth over the seasons, can be spotted relaxing under an umbrella attached to Ol’ Partner during one of the tractor’s rest periods, and the woman drives Ol’ Partner in an appealing, crepuscular scene of autumn harvest, with patterns of cornstalks backlit by the man’s harvester.
Definitely worth a second look among the extensive array of books about large vehicles. (Picture book. 2-6)