By: Loren Long, 2009
New York, NY: Philomel Books.
Appropriate Grade Level: PreK-3
Independent Reading Level: 8
Rating: 5 star
Otis is about a little tractor that lives on a farm. Otis develops a friendship with a little calf that was placed in the barn one night. Otis’ life is wonderful until a new tractor takes his place. Otis is sad and not even his friend can cheer him up. One day the little calf gets lost and stuck in Mud Pond and no one can get her out. Otis hears the calf’s cries for help and comes to the rescue.
This is a great book to read aloud in the classroom to teach students about friendship as we listen to how Otis and the little calf establish an unbreakable bond. Otis is a special tractor that makes the lives of those around him better. When Otis is replaced by a new tractor in the story, we see how greatly this change affects him. He becomes sad and inactive and not even his best friend can make him feel better. This is a great way to teach children about how to handle changes in their lives and how it’s ok to be sad, but we can’t stay sad forever.
The illustrations add to the charm of this book. Otis’ facial expressions tell the reader exactly how he feels in every part of the story. The details pull you right into the story and make you feel like you are right there. The storyline tugs at your heartstrings and will make you fall in love with a soft putt, puff, puttedy chuff. Otis is a great addition to any classroom library.
Jill S. Davis
By: Brandon Mull, 2006
Rating: 5 stars
Fablehaven is the first book in the New York Times bestselling series by Brandon Mull. Fablehaven follows the adventure of a clever young girl named Kendra, and her brother, Seth.
After a death in the family, the two siblings are sent to spend two weeks with their grandparents in Connecticut. During their stay, they discover their grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven, one of many reserves for mythical creatures. They are amazed by the secrets hidden right in front of their eyes and begin to thirst to know more. However, for their protection, they must follow specific rules put in place by their grandfather, the most important being this: Stay out of the woods. Rules are broken and suddenly Kendra and Seth find themselves in the midst of the biggest challenge of their lives. They must find a way to save their family, Fablehaven, and prevent mythical creatures from unleashing their powers on the world outside the reserve.
I have read this book three times, and each time I am sucked into the wonder of Fablehaven. I am currently reading this book to my second graders and they are just as in love with the story as I am. When they see me pick it up from my desk they cheer, “Fablehaven!”