Saturday, November 19, 2011

#PictureBookMonth Theme: Farm :|: Read Otis by Loren Long #literacy #reading #k12

Did you know Loren Long wrote Otis from a story his sons made up?
For Otis, Long’s second foray as both author and illustrator, he borrowed a story that his two sons made up about a tractor they dubbed Little Green Samuel who rescued a calf from a pond. His sons’ version of the story was loaded with characters, had no front story to build suspense, no device for setting up the problem, and no clever solution, so Long applied what he had learned about storytelling and pared down the idea to a tractor named Otis, a little boy, and a calf. Unlike Drummer Boy, Long wrote the text without thinking about the illustrations, tinkering with words and phrases until he and his editor were satisfied. But while drawing the initial sketches, Long had an epiphany: “What if I take the boy out? The heart of this story is the friendship between the calf and the tractor.” Instead of his usual acrylics, Long chose gouache, relatively unforgiving opaque water colors, experimenting with value—lights, darks and tones—using shades of grey and judicious bursts of red, [Excerpted from my Loren Long profile.]

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