Otis and the Puppy might have been written (and illustrated) for my four-year-old son. He loves tractors and classic vehicles. He loves animals. He tells stories about being lost and sad. And stories about being found. He is fascinated by the dark. He loves playing hide-and-seek with the cats and our overgrown puppy. He loves kisses and being kissed, even by the dog. He loves beautiful illustrations and sweet, well-told stories. Even if Otis and the Puppy wasn't written for my son (and it wasn't), I still would have bought this book.
Loren Long has a gift for telling sweet, timeless stories. His books feel like tales that I grew up with, and my parents grew up with, and probably my grandparents grew up with. My son enjoys them now, and I'm sure he will enjoy reading them to his children. Writing stories like that takes skill, talent and a particular gift.
Before writing this review, I went back to read what I wrote for my review of the first Otis book. This was my first sentence: This is one of the books that I bought solely because I love, love, LOVE the artwork. That is mostly true of Otis and the Puppy, except now I knew that I would be getting a lovely story to go with the sumptuous and absolutely perfect illustrations.