Llamas (Wild And Woolly), by Lori MacDhui
It is perhaps ironic that this particular book about llamas, which is like many other books about llamas an interesting and worthwhile book for a young reader to look at who wants to know about the species, views llamas as wild. While it is definitely true that llamas are woolly and that their wool (and that of their cousins like the alpacas and vicunas) has been very useful to people, llamas are in fact not wild and never have been. Llamas are domesticated animals, and if they appear to be more spirited than many domesticated animals, especially in the way that they may lay down like camels when overburdened and spit at their tormentors, they are in fact domesticated animals and always have been, likely having been the domesticated form of the guanaco for thousands of years now. But in the eyes of the reading audience of this book it is probably likely that llamas are considered wild and so this book finds a home in a series about wild animals. Being strictly accurate has never been the priority for books directed to children when one could make puns and use easily remembered words and expressions anyway, and this book carries on that proud tradition of being at least a little misleading in its title material.
This book is a short one, coming in at 24 pages, and it focuses on many different aspects of the llama and its existence in a way that is accessible for the young reader or co-reader who wants to learn more about the animal. The author begins with a discussion of the llama as an introduction, assuming the reader does not know much about llamas already. After that there is a discussion of the llamas relatives, who the readers are less likely to be familiar with, as cousins of the camels. This is followed by a discussion of the characteristics of the llama that would be worthwhile to know. Llamas are a well-known beast of burden, and the Incas and others have found many uses for the animal which have made it well-beloved and very useful and have ensured its survival in the Americas for thousands of years, even if they are more of a niche animal in the United States at present. The author spends a bit of time looking at llama fiber and how it can be processed for clothing, showing a practical bent here. After that comes a discussion of interesting llama behaviors, before the author closes with answering the question of whether llamas are livestock or pets (both!), a look at some lovely llamas, as well as a glossary, index, and websites for further reading.