“LLAMA, LLAMA MISSES MAMA” by Anna Dewdney, Viking Juvenile, March 19, 2009, $16.99 (ages 3 and up)
Anna Dewdney’s rhymed “Llama Lllama Misses Mama,” is part of a large offering of “Llama Llama” books. Specifically written as an off-to-school book, this “Llama Llama” story addresses the feelings many youngsters feel at encountering a new environment and learning to be away from mother and home for the majority of the day.
At the start of this book, familiar activities from home such as teeth-brushing and bed-making are described. Later, the book transitions to the new experience of school — along with its less familiar activities. Soft and pleasant illustrations invite the reader to feel comfortable, while Llama Llama’s facial expressions connect him to those little ones who have felt similarly in a new situation. As the book progresses, Llama Llama’s emotional arc of shyness, sadness, and eventual enjoyment is described until he finally realizes that he can both love his Mama and enjoy school.
For those looking for a way to introduce school or daycare to small children — and to share the fun and excitement that can come from the experience, “Llama Llama Misses Mama” is a good choice. The storyline is basic to this particular topic, while the rhymes and illustrations make the book a gentle read.