Sunday, January 22, 2023

Today's read... Tracy Tractor and the Little People by Collins Trafton Robertson

One thing, which so many young readers never seem able to get enough of is tractor books. My sons, my nephews, my neighbors, by brothers... Just thinking about all of those tractor stories makes me stop and take a big breath. So, when I saw this book, it was a definite chance at being a book to long as it didn't mess things up. But with that smiley, wide-eyed character on the cover, I was sure this one had a chance at being a fun read. AND...look at the left-hand corner of that cover. See those little green people? Yep, this one seems to promise a spark of originality, too.

So, let's just dive in and find out.

by Collins Trafton Robertson
Illustrated by Katie Røen
Picture Book
34 pages
ages 4 to 8

Tracy Tractor and his hardworking cousins love helping Farmer Bean with his many chores until, one day, the Farmer falls ill and is unable to harvest his crops. Tracy comes to the rescue of Bean Acres Farm by teaming up with the enchanted Little People that live in the forest, who can only be seen by children (and Tracy).



This one reminded me a bit of Bob the Builder but in a farm direction and that with the light toss-in of fantasy, too. 

Tracy Tractor needs to help out with all sorts of work on the farm from tending fields to feeding animals to hauling heavy loads. And Tracy loves the job. One day, the farmer gets sick and can't leave his bed. Tracy wants to help but it's more work than she can do alone. Luckily, Tracy has lots of relatives and asks for their help. Plus, the Little People are there to help too. Together, they might be able to get the work done.

To say that this one is for tractor and farming fans is a given, but this originally woven plot will appeal to a larger crowd. The farm work and things Tracy has to do does offer a good glimpse at many aspects of farm life, especially on the tractor's end of things. Then, for construction vehicle fans, bulldozers and other tough vehicles get involved, showing how awesome and multifaceted these machines can be. Finally, there's even a touch of magic as the Little People join in, a small race of green, human-like-ish creatures. Young readers will dream of finding these little folks in their own backyards. It's a wide mix to appeal to many types of readers...and it works.

This picture book tells a well-fleshed out story and uses a little more text than some books at this level...not over the top but it will take a reader, who is fairly sure of their words, to grab it up on their own. And that does make it a nice read for those who are heading in the chapter book direction. But this makes a lovely read-aloud, too, for those younger listeners. The tale is well-written and doesn't let boredom seep in. There's always something happening, and it's easy to like the characters involved. The messages of friendship and working together create a positive atmosphere and a warming end.

The illustrations are bright, bold and do depict the scenes nicely. The vehicles and animals are easy to recognize and hold enough details to draw in. Every scene carries a cheerful flair, and there are even moments to make listeners wonder as a crane lifts hay bales or when Tracy runs into a little trouble. 

Simply said, it is a nice read.

And here they are...

Collins Trafton Robertson was born in 1908 in Portsmouth, VA where, beginning in 1932, he was a radio announcer and morning-show host at WTAR-AM. His popular show, Sunrise Serenade, began at 6 a.m. when he woke up his audience to the chattering of the “original” chipmunks by playing 45-rpm records at 78 rpm and then played music and dispensed the homespun wisdom of “Ol’ Grandpappy.” During his career, he was also the presidential announcer in Washington, D.C., covering Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats for the Mutual Broadcasting network. He also worked on the CBS staff in New York, Tulsa and Charlotte. Trafton wrote Tracy Tractor and the Little People in 1939 for his then one-year-old daughter, Carolyn. The original typed manuscript was discovered by her daughter, Pegge, tucked away in a closet, after she had passed away in 2022. This book is his son Dick and his granddaughter’s tribute to their father and grandfather.

Katie Røen was born and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She works as a freelance illustrator with a degree in Entertainment Arts. Growing up, she was surrounded by art and developed a strong connection to drawing. Katie studied the arts first in New York City at Parsons School of Design, then Los Angeles at ArtCenter College of Design. She focuses primarily on story, utilizing elements of design and painting to give life to characters in their environments. She crafts stories and creates intricate worlds for complex characters to live in all while experimenting with various mediums, both still and motion, to tell those stories. Her biggest inspirations are her family, art history, and mythology. You can find more of Katie’s artwork here:

You can also learn more about the book at

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