We had several of the “Llama Llama” books before we had Julianne, but out of all of our four children, she is the one who has bonded with Little Llama the most. She LOVES the llama. Loves him. Every time she has a chance to choose a book, you can be assured that at least one Llama Llama book will make it into her request stack.
I think part of what she loves so much is the connection she feels with Little Llama’s emotions. Little Llama feels ALL of the feels, and the illustrations make his emotions pretty clear.
Another reason she connects so strongly to these characters is because Little Llama is living many of the same experiences she has lived the past year; “Nighty-Night Llama Llama” was the first book with words she attached to as we read it together as part of our go-to-bed routine for weeks.
He goes to preschool, and learns that Mama WILL come back for him.
He goes to the grocery store and pitches fits in the cart… but at the end, his mama reassures him how much she loves him.
He experiences holidays,
He learns to share,
He is scared.
All things that Julianne has experienced over the course of the past twelve months.
She loves how much Llama Mama loves her baby, she points to the mama and tells me it is me.
She loves how much Little Llama gets all dramatic, she points to him and says it is her.
She gives the animals names, the zebra teacher is “Miss Karen”, named after a preschool teacher, and “Grace” is the name for the Nelly Gnu girl who becomes a friend, a clear reflection of who her real-life favorite friend is.
When we bought the original, Llama Llama Red Pajama book, I had NO IDEA that Little Llama would come to play such an important role in processing emotions for her. In fact, at the time, I had NO IDEA that adoption was going to be for our family at all! Her first year home was a constant onslaught of NEW things for her. New experiences, new house, new family, new food, new smells, new language, new EVERYTHING. Sitting still to listen to stories was not a high priority on her list of Things to Do, and I can’t blame her a single bit!
Simple, repetitive books were what she liked, and so we read those, over and over. The first book she ever had was one of those soft baby books with pictures of her new family slid into the plastic pockets; she would repeat the strange sounding words that were names over and over.
But, we kept it up. Kept trying. And now she’s starting to like being read to.
It’s surreal to watch the same progression that happened with my other three happen with her in warp-speed. Whereas they went through the same development from birth to age five, she has gone through the whole process between ages four and five. It’s pretty crazy to think about how many connections are being made; how many new neurons are firing in that mind of hers.
She’s moved from baby soft books to board books to story books over the course of twelve months, and I gotta say, that makes this book worm’s heart very happy.