The darling cover of An Otis Christmas drew me to this book while browsing my local bookstore. I (shamefully) wasn’t yet familiar with the Otis books written and illustrated by Loren Long. When I sat down in the bookshop to read the story, I got all choked up and fell in love with Otis the tractor. So what makes this picture book my new favorite children’s Christmas book?
Allow me to walk you through some of the highlights of the story. It begins with very happy scenes of Christmas. We see Otis romping with the dog on the snow covered hills of the farm and dancing with other farm animals around the evergreen tree that the farmer is decorating. Otis is very excited this Christmas as he awaits the arrival of a new baby foal. On Christmas eve, the farmer gives Otis a gift of a shiny new horn, and the animals settle in for a cozy wintery night. But all is not well. The expectant horse is having trouble and the snow is too thick for the farmer to go get Doc in his truck. Otis knows he must be brave and face the dark and dangerous snowy night to find Doc and hopefully save his friend and her new baby.
Throughout the story, Otis’ facial expressions so clearly show what he is feeling. In fact, I believe a child could “read” this book by merely taking in the details of the Norman Rockwell-style pictures. Children can relate to Otis and his excitement over his new toy as well as his anticipation of having a new friend to play with. The tension in the latter half of the book will hold kids in suspense as they watch Otis brave the elements to try and save his friend.
As a parent, I enjoyed the ending the best. Otis tells us that although he loves his shiny new horn that he’s always wanted, he realizes that his greatest gifts are his farm family and friends.
I encourage you to add this picture book by a best-selling author to your collection of children’s Christmas books. I’ve enclosed an affiliate link for your convenience. (disclosure policy here)
For more suggestions of winter and Christmas theme picture books for young children click on the links below.
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