Otis and the Kittens
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Otis and the Kittens, the seventh Loren Long picture book in the popular Otis the tractor series, delivers up a story with cute kittens, firefighting, bravery, and friendship. Long, who was the pick to illustrate President Obama's kids' book, Of Thee I Sing, is a celebrated picture book artist, and his Otis books about an antique tractor have a satisfyingly old-fashioned, classic feel. This one also has a contemporary problem: The farm is parched from drought, and a fire breaks out. Otis rushes into the burning barn to save a litter of kittens, his farm animal friends rush in to save him, and the scenes with the fire are dramatically graphic. Parents can talk with kids about fire safety and the inadvisability of actually running into a fire, so this book may be most appropriate for the older end of the picture book crowd -- those developmentally ready to distinguish fictional derring-do.
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What's the Story?
In OTIS AND THE KITTENS, Otis' farm is dangerously dry from lack of rain. One afternoon, after playing tug-of-war with his farm animal friends, Otis spies an orange tabby cat run toward the barn and notices a plume of smoke. The barn is burning! Otis rushes into the barn to save the cat, sees a litter of kittens, and delivers all safely outside. But when the mother cat is still agitated, Otis realizes there's one kitten left inside. He returns to the burning barn and saves the kitten but falls through the buckling flooring himself. As the fire rages above him, the fire truck arrives, but the creek's too dry for them to draw water. His animal friends rush to the rescue, grab a rope, and use their tug-of-war skills to pull Otis up to safety.
Is It Any Good?
Kids can get their cute kitten fix delivered with an exciting dash of firefighting in Loren Long's newest picture book about Otis, everybody's favorite tractor. Otis and the Kittens involves a raging barn fire caused by drought, which lends a level of drama and provides an opportunity for dashing heroism not always seen in picture books.
Otis and the Kittens is action-packed, and the grab bag of kid-pleasing elements make it a good choice for readers who love books about trucks and vehicles but are old enough to understand the actual rules of fire safety.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can use Otis and the Kittens to talk about fire safety. If you detect fire, what should you do? How can you avoid smoke inhalation? Does your family have an emergency plan?
Otis is a tractor in a story; should real people run into a burning room or building?
Have you read the other Otis books? How does this one compare? Which is your favorite? Why?
- Author: Loren Long
- Illustrator: Loren Long
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Philomel
- Publication date: September 20, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 10, 2020
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