Book Series Review: Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

We received Llama Llama Red Pajama as one of our first Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library free books. For Marian, it was love at first read. She LOVES the drama and rhythm of the text. This is the first book we read over and over and over and over, and we continue to do so today. It’s by far her favorite book. Since then, I’ve had to purchase another copy from the used bookstore I work at, and when she read that one to pieces, I bought the board book version new. She has yet to read the board book to pieces. Here’s hoping that lasts.

Marian reads Llama Llama Misses Mama
Marian smiles as she reads Llama Llama Misses Mama

Confession: I totally plan on buying mommy and me llama llama shirts for Mother’s Day. I’m going to be that mom.

Suffice it to say that there are a lot of Llama Llama books. We review some suggested entry points.

Llama Llama Red Pajama

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney book coverLittle Llama Marian’s review: This book started them all, and it’s still the best of them, even though I haven’t read them all. Because it really is one of the best things ever, right up there with my fawn and paci and turkey. Everyone should start here. If you’re little like me and still practicing turning pages, you might want to have your parents buy the board book version. It can be really easy to tear paper pages, especially when you’re really excited about reading your favorite book ever, and trust me, this will be your favorite book ever.

Llama Llama has so many expressions! His eyes can do so many things. My favorite part is what Mommy calls the climax, where he’s “weeping, wailing” and Mommy reads it dramatically, and it’s so much fun to listen to. But this is one of the rare books where I don’t want Mommy to read the same page over and over again. I want her to read the entire book over and over again. That’s because it sounds so good to listen to: “Llama Llama Red Pajama reads a story with his mama. Mama kisses baby’s hair. Mama Llama goes downstairs.” I didn’t even have to look at the book to type that! I know it by heart. And did you see that amazing Mama Llama rhyme!? So cool. Anna Dewdney is an excellent rhymer.

Mama Llama Margaret’s review: I’ve started calling Marian Little Llama and myself Mama Llama. Sometimes, I accidentally say Mommy Llamy, ha.

I really do recommend beginning here. No matter how young your little llama is, the rhythm and drama of this book makes it a masterpiece. When I first read it, I didn’t think one way or another about it. But after reading it 2.4 million times, instead of thinking less of it as a story, I think better of it. Anna Dewdney does an amazing job of capturing toddler feelings.

Which brings me to an interesting topic a coworker brought up. She said she won’t let her daughter read the Llama Llama books because there’s too much drama. She doesn’t want her daughter to emulate Llama Llama and all his drama. I, however, feel like it can be cathartic for toddlers to read about strong emotions. I know that’s how I function with my own reading, and I can only think it works the same way for Little Llamas. Thoughts? Marian definitely prefers books that combine drama and repetition. Maybe I’ll see if there’s any research about this and write a post about it. Marian does not act any differently after reading these books, though adorably she stomps her feet when Llama Llama stomps. But she’s only 16 months, and I know the real llama drama begins a little down the road from now. But does reading dramatic books cause temper tantrums? I doubt it. And besides, she loves these books, and I’m not taking her away from a reading experience she values.

Little Llama Llama Board Books

Book cover of Little Llama Llama board book setLittle Llama Marian’s review: I like these okay. I realize they fit in my hands better than the other Llama Llama books, but I like to feel like a big girl, and big girls read big books. They’re also not the best for Mommy to read, because not much happens. Mommy doesn’t read dramatically like she does with the other books. However, they’re perfect for diaper changes. I can read the book and it’s small enough that it doesn’t get poop on it. That’s what Mommy tells me, but I don’t care if it gets poop on it. Why should I? If I decide that I don’t want a diaper change because they’re the absolute WORST things ever, then Mommy will give me one of these board books and sing the words to me. And I guess that’s nice so I should listen and not try to kick Mommy in the face. I guess.

Mama Llama Margaret’s review: The Llama Llama board books are very short, but their compact size do make them perfect companions for diaper changes. Often, Marian squirms and even throws temper tantrums during a diaper change. She wants to RUN RUN RUN! Books usually calm her down, and just like she mentions, I’ve created melodies for the Llama Llama board books we own. There are a lot of different board books, and we only have a couple. But Easter is coming up and we plan to buy Llama Llama Easter Egg for Marian’s Easter Basket. The one we currently read the most is Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom.

Llama Llama Picture Books

Llama Llama Misses mama book coverLittle Llama Marian’s review: I like these better than the board books because, like Llama Llama Red Pajama, they have some llama drama. My two favorites are Llama Llama Misses Mama and Llama Llama Mad at Mama. In Misses Mama, Llama Llama goes to this place that reminds me of the play area at the library, and then his mama just abandons him there. It’s really cruel. Like me, Llama Llama is shy around other kids, and he doesn’t feel safe at this school place. But eventually he starts having some fun, and then Mama Llama finally shows up again, when he’s finally starting to enjoy himself. Why are parents so mean?

In Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Mama Llama takes Llama Llama to the grocery store, and he gets bored and throws a temper tantrum. I kinda get where Llama Llama is coming from. The grocery store is boring if I have to stay in the cart, but if Mommy or Daddy set me down on the ground even for a second, I can run around as fast as I can, up and down aisles, and sometimes I even rearrange things! It’s so much fun then. But I don’t like being in the shopping cart at all. I like it in the book when Llama Llama starts throwing things out of the cart. It’s funny.

Mama Llama Margaret’s review: We have three of the Llama Llama picture books, not including Llama Llama Red Pajama. There are so many more for us to collect. Honestly, I’ve had to use the tape on both the books she mentioned as her favorites. She really enjoys flipping through them. Neither of them have quite the same cadence and performability as the original book, but they’re still quite good and fun to read.

Do you have any favorites? Does your child love these too?

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