The Rusty, Trusty Tractor



A charming tale of friendship and loyalty.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this story reinforces friendship and loyalty.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

A charming tale of friendship and loyalty taught by an elderly farmer who has faith in his old tractor. Illustrations of the quiet farm and the hard-working farmer have readers cheering for the farmer's "old friend."


Is it any good?


This subtle story, set on a farm, demonstrates that "real friends are there when you need them." Thoughtful, plain-speaking, humorous Grandpappy isn't interested in Mr. Hill's brand-new shiny tractor with air-conditioning: "Mine's got air-conditioning, too," said Grandpappy. "When the air gets too fresh, I put on another jacket." And while young Micah is a bit enamored with the shiny machines, he comes to trust Grandpappy's quiet loyalty and helps him set about working the fields.

This book even feels like an old friend, with its warm, inviting illustrations. A 5-year-old reader had a soft smile on his face as Grandpappy persevered through each feat, finally winning the coveted jelly doughnuts. And Joy Cowley's writing challenges readers; the same preschooler asked questions about the comparison of the plowed field to "brown waves."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of shiny, new things. Why does Grandpappy have such faith in his old tractor? Have you gotten shiny, new toys that broke or got boring quickly?

Book details

Author:Joy Cowley
Illustrator:Olivier Dunrea
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Boyds Mills Press
Publication date:February 1, 1999
Number of pages:28
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of The Rusty, Trusty Tractor was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 2 year old Written bylorineo March 8, 2012

Nostalgic and endearing story

Sweet tale about Grandpappy's loyalty to his "old friend", the tractor he's had for many years... Takes the reader through the plowing, planting and harvesting seasons with charming artwork. Great for tractor lovers! Some of the language is a bit hokey but kids may find it silly. It's fun when the old tractor has to rescue the pushy salesman.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide