CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 3 . . . . September 30, 2005
What their owners do not know is that, after the sun goes down, the eleven llamas come to life. They snort and prance, hum and dance, kick up their heels, flip their tails and party the whole night long. One night, in the midst of their midnight revels, they are interrupted by a frantic mother hen. Over in the henhouse, the chicks have gone missing! It's time for the llamas to put their heads together and stage an ingenious (if accidental) rescue.
Eleven Lazy Llamas is BC artist Dianna Bonder's sixth children's book. In 2001, she illustrated A Pacific Alphabet which was nominated not only for both the White Raven and the Chocolate Lily award but was also selected for British Columbia's Ministry of Education Project in support of literacy. She wrote and illustrated Accidental Alphabet, which was published in 2002 and chosen a year later for the Docet Exhibition in Bologna, Italy.
Bonder's llamas with their gentle faces, large long-lashed eyes and multi-coloured markings are the most appealing aspect of Eleven Lazy Llamas. The jacket notes tell the reader that the human characters are based on owners of a llama farm in Langley, BC, who have discovered that these animals are curious, sensitive and very nurturing (all characteristics they exhibit in the book). Little girls who collect the pre-named pastel ponies marketed by Hasbro will perhaps make a connection between the llamas and their beloved toy pets. Unfortunately, the book's liabilities --an improbable plot and difficult-to-discern theme -- subtract from its artistic assets.
Eleven Lazy Llamas will probably be most successful as a read-aloud with a very young group of listeners. It would be a good idea for adult readers to find out something about these unusual animals before embarking on the story as questions, such as "Is this a true story?" will likely be forthcoming from the audience.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.