Llamas (National Geographic Kids), by Maya Myers
Llamas seem like fun animals to write about. Although they are by no means particularly common animals, they are common enough and well-known enough to be seen as representative of their relatives among the camelids of South America, of whom only the alpacas are well known at all (for their wool) except among those who are seriously interested in high cost animal fur (such as the super-expensive fur of the wild and endangered vicuna). Yet despite the general obscurity of the llama family, they are quirky and cute and cuddly animals that seem to attract a lot of goodwill easily, and as domesticated animals that serve a variety of purposes from pack animals to bearers of useful fur to guardians of sheep, llamas are precisely the sort of animals whose varied uses within farms and human affairs and whose native personality and spunk makes them a natural animal to cheer on for young readers, which this book is proudly aimed at, at level one for co-reading on the fluency scale for early readers. If some of the words will likely require a bit of help, including perhaps a brief explanation of the words in the glossary and the dominance aspect of herd animals, this is a good book for young readers about llamas.
This book is a short one at 32 pages and contains a variety of short unnumbered sections. The book begins with a discussion of llamas as mountain animals of South America with plenty of photos. After that comes a look at llama herds and family matters of the species, including the raising of llama young. This is followed by a discussion of what llamas eat for lunch, mostly grass, as well as other plants. A discussion of llama talk, namely a variety of sounds that llamas make as well as llama body language, follows after this. There is then a section that includes seven fun facts about llamas, including llama tantrums, therapy llamas, the use of dried llama poop as fertilizer, the importance of llamas to Inca civilization, llama ear piercings, llama similarities to camels, and the humming of baby and momma llamas together. After that comes a look at the many purposes for which llamas have been put to work since they were domesticated around 5000 years ago or so. A section about llama love, which is natural given that they are pretty adorable animals, then follows after this, as well as close up looks at different parts of the llama body and a glossary of harder words used in the book that may require explanation.