Between the Bookends

From the Small to the Tall

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Pair of new releases covers the range from Cub Cadet to Big Bud

If you're a Cub Cadet fan, you can skip the flu shot: You're more likely to succumb to "yellow fever." If that's the case, Oscar H. Will's new book, Cub Cadet: The First 45 Years, is just what the doctor ordered.

Will, a regular contributor to Farm Collector, has compiled what is unquestionably the most deeply researched, authoritative and handsomely illustrated tome to date on the spunky yellow-and-white garden tractor. The book was clearly a labor of love: Will's passion for the Cub Cadet shines through on every page.

Cub Cadet is organized in four logical sections. The first traces the history and evolution of the line, including never-before-published details on the Cub Cadet's purchase by Modern Tool and Die Co. The second section includes a chapter covering a galaxy of attachments and special duty implements, running the gamut from garden-variety to highly collectible (like the Haban Sickle Mower), from ordinary to rarified (like the sprayer/fogger and golf ball retrievers). Section 2 also gives no-nonsense restoration advice, including sound tips on what's worth buying and what's not, and how much to pay. Section 3 provides a wealth of specifications in a comprehensive field guide, and section 4 delivers serial numbers.

Cub Cadet fans are sure to be enthralled by the history of the product's beginnings, including amazingly detailed information on prototypes and experimental models - and even the present whereabouts of a handful of unique pieces. For the true collector, background like that can't be beat. Is there a cure for yellow fever? Not yet. In the meantime, Will's new book is darned good therapy.

Cub Cadet: The First 45 Years, by Oscar H. Will III, published by Hain Publishing Inc., 90 pages, color photography throughout. $19.95 plus $4 shipping and handling through Tractor Shop, P.O. Box 95, Bee, NE 68314-0095; (402) 643-6269; fax: (402) 643-3912; www.tractorshop.com

Big Bud 747 is big. If Ed McMahon were here, he'd pose the question: How big is it?

John Harvey's new book, Big Bud 747: The World's Largest Tractor, tackles the question from every angle. For those unfamiliar with Big Bud, the 900-hp tractor was built in Havre, Mont., in 1977-78. It sports tires 8 feet tall and a 1,000-gallon fuel tank.

Big Bud captured the imagination of farmers worldwide when it was first introduced nearly 30 years ago, and still holds the unofficial title of the most famous tractor on earth. Harvey (of Classic Tractor Fever fame) traces the tractor and the people involved with it from its beginning to today.

How it came to be built, where it was manufactured, how it was used, and what it cost are all revealed. The large-format book is packed with stunning photography of the tractor in Big Sky Country with its owners, the Williams brothers of Big Sandy, Mont.

Comparison photos tell the tale: Big Bud with tractors of other makes … a Hummer H-2 … the NBA's tallest basketball player … an elephant and even a giraffe. It's a read sure to put a big smile on your face this winter.

Big Bud 747: The World's Largest Tractor, by John Harvey, 128 pages, 165 color photographs and illustrations. $39.95. Available through Farm Collector Books, see page 35 for ordering information.