The series has a handful of books now: Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Home with Mama, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, and Llama Llama Misses Mama.
Notice something? That’s a lot of Mama.
These are great books that are fun to read but all lack an adult male figure. As a father of three, who stayed at home full-time for a couple of years having some of my favorite books to read to the girls at night lacking a father figure, or even any slight hint of one, this series has felt incomplete.
Families are very different and kids have various different types of family structures growing up. I understand that single mother or other non-traditional family structures should be represented too. It was notable to me, though, that of all of the Llama Llama books, only the most recent, Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, mention a father figure and that’s the illustration of the Bully Goat’s dad picking him up at the end of the school day.
Being an active father involved with your kids is still seen as a novelty too often. While staying at home with the girls for a couple years, I can’t count the times well-meaning people commented how great it was that I “took the kids for a day” or similar comments implying and assuming that it was actually a novelty for me to have them out at all during the day, much less be the primary at-home caretaker.
For better or worse, a spin-off of sorts, Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too is now on the scene. For the Llammies out there, you’ll remember Nelly Gnu as the “new girl” from Llama Llama Time To Share who spends a day with her dad in Anna Dewdney’s latest book.
Quickly becoming MC’s favorite book, in the week we’ve had it, we’ve read it a dozen times together. The dad seems like a good guy, helping Nelly build a play house, including taking her to the hardware store and buying paint. He cooks dinner and reads to her at night. He’s a modern father involved with his daughter in multiple ways throughout the day.
I’m not sure how to read that the inclusion of fatherhood was put into a spin-off, but in either case, I’m happy to see this popular franchise pay some attention to the dads.