It may appear on the surface that all children’s books are basically the same. Rhyming words, colorful pictures, good messages… if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have read hundreds of children’s books. Many of them I’ve literally read hundreds of times over.
Some are extraordinary – visually stunning artwork, a storyline that can move a grown man to tears (hypothetically of course), unforgettable characters.
Other kids’ books are absolute trash. It’s like some authors think to themselves “Well, my audience is just children. I can create pure and utter rubbish and they won’t know the difference. And I’ll be rich, I tell you. RICH! Ha ha ha!” These people sicken me. Kids will know the difference, trust me. And what about the adults that have to recite these poor excuses for books over and over and over…?
The Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney is of the extraordinary variety. The kids absolutely love these books. My first encounter with the series was Llama Llama Misses Mama. It’s a fun tale about a sheltered little llama stumbling through his first experience at school. Little llama has a hard time adjusting to his new environment, and yeah, he misses his mama. Wouldn’t you? Llama ends up working through his issues, having a good time at school, and wouldn’t you know it, his mama does decide to come back for him after all. All is well.
Then I discovered Llama Llama Red Pajama. Aha! So it’s a pattern, this series of books… things that rhyme with ‘llama’. Genius! That’s not my preferred pronunciation of pajama, but yeah, OK, I’ll go along with it. This story gives the reader another glimpse into the fragile little mind of Baby Llama. This time, it’s bedtime. You thought school was scary, little llama? Ha. That was child’s play compared to what you’re about to go through alone in the dark. As in the first book, Mama Llama eventually comes around to save the day, but it’s a nail-biter right up to the denouement.
After reading these two epic tales, I found myself wondering what’s next. Will it be Llama Llama Votes Obama? Or possibly Llama Visits Dalai Lama? I mean really, there are only so many words that rhyme with llama. It turns out that the next volume is Llama Llama Mad at Mama. So I guess we’re keeping ‘Mama’ and just changing up the action word. Alright, I can adjust. This book is a Christmas present for our kids, and I fully expect it to be a resounding success at our home.
And just today, I discovered yet another book in the series: Llama Llama Holiday Drama. Yes! I love it. The rhyme ‘drama’ does appear in at least one of the other books, but we’ll let that slide. Especially since the book apparently tackles the very real and very current issue of holiday craziness.
The poetry flows, the pictures inspire, and our kids are fully engaged with each successive reading. An official Dadbloggit kudos to you Llama Llama!