Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review - Llama Llama Loves to Read

Llama Llama Loves to Read (Llama Llama)
by Anna Dewdney & Reed Duncan
illustrated by JT Morrow
Date: 2018
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: hardcover
Source: library

Anna Dewdney's Bestselling Llama Llama series continues with Llama learning to read!

Llama Llama learns at school.
Counting, writing, reading, rules.
Friends and school -- there's nothing better.
Llama learning all the letters!

Anna Dewdney's beloved Llama Llama is growing up and learning to read! Throughout the school day, the teacher helps Llama Llama and the other children practice their letters, shows word cards, reads stories, and brings them to the library where they can all choose a favorite book. By the end of the day, Llama Llama is recognizing words and can't wait to show Mama Llama that he's becoming a reader!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

What a disappointment.

I was happy to see that Anna Dewdney's legacy was being carried on by her partner. I'd also heard that she'd had a number of books in the works at the time of her death. So I thought perhaps this posthumously published title would be just as good as some of the previous Llama Llama books. Unfortunately, it isn't.

There's just something missing here. The spark of magic that made these books about the little llama so special is gone. I couldn't connect to this one emotionally at all. Unlike Llama Llama Red Pajama or Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, there's really no reason to care about what's going on. The llama's learning to read. Yeah... so? Most kids do. I really doubt that this is all there would've been if Dewdney had written and illustrated this book all by herself. (There's also something off with the meter in a few places, which is something I don't remember at all from the previous books. The rhyme and rhythm are usually dependably good.)

The illustrations--while they look nearly identical to Dewdney's work--are likewise lacking... something. The soul of the characters is missing. I can't quite put my finger on what the problem is. The imitation of the style is good... but it's just not quite right.

It was exciting to think we might've had more Llama Llama coming our way... but if this book is indicative of what this series will be like from now on, I think I'll have to give it a pass.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.43 out of 5

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