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About Loren Long
That's what I like to do - tell stories. When I plan out the illustrations for a book, I pretend I'm making a movie. The words are like a screenplay and I'm choosing which scenes to bring to life.
Before THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD I never viewed myself as someone who would paint trains with eyeballs and cute little purple elephants. I began realizing who my audience is: little children who would actually be holding one of my books. I thought hard about the books I loved from my own childhood. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD was always one of my favorites, as was THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY, THE STORY OF FERDINAND and Virginia Lee Burton's books. I began thinking about creating books that, like these, might someday become a child's favorite. This is where the idea for OTIS started.
I approach both writing and illustrating enthusiastically. If I'm going to illustrate a manuscript that someone else has written, it's got to be something that I love. I have to love a story enough to do it and make it mine. I hope that doesn't sound overly egotistical. But I feel that the book becomes as much mine as the author's, and as much the author's as mine.
For about a dozen years after getting out of school, I did illustrations for greeting cards, theater posters and magazines. But you never meet your audience when you do a picture for a magazine and it's not really the product - you're just decorating the product. In book publishing, on the other hand, the book is the product. After illustrating my first book, I knew I loved children's publishing right away. I discovered that people cared - teachers, librarians, booksellers and kids. And I got to meet my audience.
This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I'm honored that several books that I've illustrated have received awards. Angela Johnson's I DREAM OF TRAINS won the Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators' Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration. TOY BOAT by Randall DeSeve was awarded the 2007 Publisher's Weekly Cuffie Award for Favorite Picture Book of the Year and the 2008 Great Lakes Book Award for Children's Picture Book. Walt Whitman's WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN'D ASTRONOMER was a Golden Kite Honor Book and also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Gold Award. I've also received two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators.
I live in Cincinnati with my wife and two boys, and two Weimaraners. If you'd like to learn more about my books, you can visit me at www.lorenlong.com.
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Children three and older will love this adorable book, the perfect companion to Otis and Otis and the Tornado. In this story, the beloved tractor loves to play with his friends--the calf, the cows, the horses, and of course, the ducks. Together, they jump, they play, they chase, and they march. And they always have fun--young readers will, too!
'My Hero' to Be Chosen: Eight finalists will compete tonight for the title My Hero. The winner will wear the coveted gold Hero medal. These brave and courageous dogs will each appear with their nominator who will tell their story.
There's Smiley, who fought a giant bull. Bear used his giant paws to save the life of another dog. Munchkin warned a gardener of a poisonous snake about to strike. Old Dog helped find people buried under rubble after a tornado. Buster pulled a baby carriage out of the path of a careening truck. Blue, who had never been known to bark, used his voice to bring help to his wounded master. Dopey's constant barking saved the life of a baby left in a sweltering car. Little Bit brought love and companionship to a nursing home resident.
In My Dog, My Hero each story is told in the unique, sometimes humorous, but always compelling voice of the person whose life was changed by the heroic action of a very extraordinary dog. Betsy Byars and her daughters Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers have joined forces to create dog stories full of adventure and suspense. Loren Long's paintings capture the heroic dignity of each of the dogs and heighten the drama of their special stories.
On the farm where Otis the tractor lives, it hasn't rained in a long time and farmers all over the valley have grown anxious with water in such short supply. One hot afternoon, when Otis and his friends are resting beneath the shade of the apple tree, Otis spots something moving down in the valley—an orange tabby cat headed straight for the old barn. But then Otis sees something else that causes his engine to sputter . . . a swirl of smoke coming from the same barn. A fire!
As Otis races toward the fire with his friends in tow, he spots the tabby cat mewing in alarm. Otis rushes inside to discover the source of the cat's worries--her little kittens are perched up on the hayloft, scared. Otis never hesitates. Yet even after he delivers a tractor full of kittens safely outside, their mama remains upset. Re-entering the burning barn, Otis discovers why: one tiny kitten, still too scared to move. With a friendly chuff, Otis coaxes her down and she scampers out the door. That's when the floor collapses with a CRASH, trapping the tractor. Now Otis, the friend everyone can count on, must count on his friends.
Told with a sense of play and devotion, this is a heartwarming tale that reminds readers that sometimes even those who we count on to help us need a little help themselves. From the creator of Otis, Otis and the Puppy, and the illustrator of The Little Engine That Could and Of Thee I Sing by President Barack Obama.
Praise for Otis and the Kittens
* "As always, perseverance, teamwork, and a heart of gold pay off for Otis and his friends. When read aloud, the text flows off the tongue with sounds and words that extend the imagery created in the attractive gouache and pencil illustrations. The compositions make great use of perspective and motion and are expertly laid out . . . There are wonderful textured details that bring the story to life. [T]he perfect lapsit read-aloud, combining the ever-popular subjects of tractors, farm animals, and firefighters."--School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"Long's seventh bucolic tale of an antique tractor with a smiling face and a good heart will please the little chuffer's many fans. The dynamic, fluid illustrations with a retro-rural vibe bring to mind Norman Rockwell's America with a Saturday comics spin. The theme of teamwork played out several times through the tale is communicated as simply as the tale itself. Keep on puffin', Otis!"--Kirkus Reviews
"Long creates a powerful sense of suspense and danger as charcoal smoke gathers in the sky and bright flames lick the beams of the barn as Otis goes to work, but bravery, loyalty, and gritty determination are the real stars of the story—traits that Otis and his animal friends have in ample supply."--Publishers Weekly
Join Otis as he explores the many fun things there are to see on the farm! In this new leveled reader, Otis sees a puppy, a little calf, and even a bull. Kids will love learning to read with one of their favorite characters, Otis the tractor!
Otis is a very busy tractor. He loves working on the farm and playing with his friends. But at the end of a long day, Otis is happy to go home and rest! This is the perfect complement to the Otis picture books and a great book with which to learn to read! Join Otis and his farmyard friends for all kinds of fun in this new leveled reader.
Look, a friend!
Otis and his farm friends love to play hide-and-seek. Otis especially loves to be "It," finding his friends as they hide. Yet when the newest addition to the farm—a bounding puppy who can't sit still and has a habit of licking faces—tries to hide, he finds his attention wandering and is soon lost in the forest. Night falls and Otis, knowing his new friend is afraid of the dark, sets out to find him. There's just one problem: Otis is also afraid of the dark. His friend is alone and in need, though, so Otis takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and sets off on a different game of hide-and-seek.
From the critically-acclaimed illustrator of The Little Engine that Could, Of Thee I Sing, and Otis.
Where there's smoke...
The year is 1899 and the Travelin' Nine are barnstorming their way across the good ol' U. S. of A., trying to raise money to pay off the Payne family's big-league debt.
Pulling into Chicago, Griffith has a run-in with an enormous thug and is more convinced than ever that the nefarious robber baron called "The Chancellor" knows about their magic baseball.
Ruby also has an encounter with a mysterious stranger, and even though she doesn't know why, she knows that he will change the Travelin' Nine.
And Graham launches a towering shot out of the park when he thinks no one is looking. Unfortunately, the wrong eyes may have seen what the youngest Payne can do with a baseball.
Chicago is a hot town, so the Paynes better keep their cool. The Travelin' Nine still have more money to make!
#1 New York Times bestseller Loren Long and Texas Bluebonnet winner Phil Bildner create a memorable modern-day parable where three siblings embark on the adventure of a lifetime and discover the strength in family, the power of faith, and the true magic of baseball.
New York Times bestselling series!
THE YEAR IS 1899, and the Travelin' Nine are barnstorming their way across the good ol' U.S. of A., trying to raise money to pay off the Payne family's big-league debt.
Griffith has a run-in with the Chancellor and learns that the baseball isn't the only item the infamous industrialist is after. Even more mysteriously, the Chancellor claims to have something that the Paynes want.
And Ruby. Where in the world has she vanished to? Does her disappearance have anything to do with the Chancellor's threats? Or is there some other plan in play?
And finally, Graham makes a heartfelt birthday wish and somehow gets exactly what he asks for. But questions still remain: Was it real? Can it possibly be true? Or is it all just a dream?
If they don't watch out, Griffith, Ruby, Graham, and the Travelin' Nine may find themselves in deep water in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!
As the team heads into the River City, Griffith is beginning to realize that there's more at risk than meets the eye, something beyond the need to raise money -- something involving the ball that could put his entire family in danger.
Ruby is eager to help solve the mystery of the ball and plans on keeping her eyes and ears wide open and writing everything down. She knows the answer is out there. All she has to do is see the things that others don't. And figure out what those things mean.
Then there's Graham, who usually only thinks about how to get more time on the baseball field. Even he's beginning to notice that there are strange and shady characters at just about every turn.
Finally there's the Chancellor, one of the wealthiest and greediest businessmen in the entire world. And it looks like he's got his eye on the ball!