I adore Llama Llama. This week Ruth and I have read three of the Llama Llama books at least once a day. (The one above, Llama Llama Misses Mama and Llama Llama Mad at Mama) I’ve been thinking about what makes these such great books. There are the colorful illustrations and the rhyming text that is fun to read. There is the sweetness of the mama-baby relationship and the recognizable situation.
As I watched Ruth’s face as we read I realized that they also provide a certain amount of safe suspense for a toddler. Is Llama Llama alone? Where did Mama Llama go? Will she ever come? What will happen to Llama Llama at school? Maybe I’m overanalyzing but watching her face there is a moment of doubt, of being a little scared at where the Mama went. But, oh, the smile on her face when Mama comes back! It’s like the biggest best surprise ending every. Only even better because it’s not really a surprise and it’s all safe. Ruth has always been the most independent of all our kids. However, she is in the midst of a big Mommy phase. I think on one level these books are helping her with her own fears about separation.
This is David’s current bedtime read-aloud. I didn’t know much about it but had seen it referenced in a few places. We are both thoroughly enjoying it (as is John who also listens in). There are three separate stories (each a short chapter book in length) in this volume. We’ve finished with the first one and are looking forward to the next two. Tumtum and Nutmeg are a married mouse couple who live in a closet off the kitchen of Rose Cottage. The human inhabitants of Rose Cottage are Mr. Mildew and his two young children, Arthur and Lucy. Their paths intersect when Tumtum and Nutmeg decide to try and improve life for Arthur and Lucy. Mr. Mildew is a loving father but they are very poor and he’s distracted and blind to the mess and squalor around them. Everything is going well until Aunt Ivy, hater of mice, comes to visit. Events culminate with an ingenious plan to get rid of Aunt Ivy known as the Battle of the Bright Brigade.
There are many of these little people/creatures kinds of books. (The Borrowers, The Littles, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Toys Go Out, The Doll People) This one stands out for the sweetness of the story and the slightly more complex language. The boys were also enthralled by the black and white illustrations by Nick Price. We have a rule that John must stay on his bed while I read to David and vice versa. ( I made the rule because usually David will then fall asleep while I read to John.) However, David was ok with letting John come over to look at each of the pictures. He’d yell out “Picture!” and John would leap across the room to look at all the tiny details. I would highly recommend this one for any age, but it is especially good as a read-aloud for younger kids.
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