Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama and Mama books
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Our reviewer, P.J. Rooks, already reviewed Llama Llama Mad at Mama, but I keep hearing about these books, so I had to check them out for myself.
Author Anna Dewdney does a wonderful job of capturing a young child's very narrow world. Her books are two person tales that capture small but dramatic moments in a toddler's life...and the person who always makes things okay.
The first book, Llama Llama Red Pajama, shows young Llama Llama being put to bed but not managing to get to sleep on his own. With the simplest of rhymes, Dewdney captures the little one's internal state:
Without his mama
But Mama Llama is on the phone.
Dewdney captures every stage in a developing terror tantrum knowingly and simply. Sometimes molehills do turn into mountains, but little Llama has a mama who knows how to level such upheavals right back out.
She runs to the scene, puts hands on hips when she sees there's nothing really wrong, but then quickly transitions to empathy and assurance.
don't you know,
loves you so?
even if she's
not right here.
Dewdney's evocative canvases emphasize every page's emotion, featuring a certain wide-eyed little llama.
Llama Llama Misses Mama depicts a sun-is-shining missing-mommy drama, this time telling the story of little Llama's first day at daycare. In this, the 3rd book of the series, the toddler's world opens a little wider, admitting others.
Llama Llama Mad at Mama (the 2nd book) tells of a too-much-shopping temper tantrum.
In these two books, just as with the first, Dewdney intuitively depicts the progression of a young child's emotional state from mild to extreme. These are the perfect books to read right after Mount Molehill has erupted. They're that soothing.
You may even find that they soothe you, getting you out of your own emotions about your child's outburst.
The Llama Llama books depict emotional breakdowns as a normal part of growing up, not as a reason for shame. It's okay to get upset...and it's okay to get over it!
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