The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Llama Llama, thank GOD I ain’t yo’ Mama.

FINALLY, my turn has come to take a ride on Ninja Mom’s Character Assassination Carousel and ruthlessly critique a classic children’s book. I’m following in the wickedly clever footsteps of Cathy, the very VERY busy mom, who recently ripped Corduroy a new one.

Yes, from the minute I first laid eyes on this tantalizing meme a couple of months ago I knew it was my destiny to participate!

Perhaps you recall this:

Why yes, that IS naked Satan giving Jesus a reach-around in my children’s Picture Bible. Good times.

The Bible is a tough act to follow though, let me tell you. I was kind of stumped coming up with another book to shred.

Desperate for ideas, I turned to a new friend, Rebecca* for help. (*Not her real name.)

Something you should know about Rebecca: she’s a really good mother. Watching her interact with children makes me want to give up my kids to her for adoption on the spot. Rebecca is also one of the most beautiful and serene women I’ve ever encountered. I’m pretty sure my blood pressure decreases simply by being in the same room with her. When she climaxes it probably sounds like a Tibetan Prayer Bowl.

I was kind of expecting her to say that she’s never met a children’s book she didn’t love. Or maybe that she doesn’t like certain fairy tales because of their blatant human rights violations.

But I was NOT expecting this: “Oh yes, we despise the Llama Llama series.

“Really?! Never heard of it. Do tell!”

“Well, there’s this scene in Llama Llama Red Pajama where the Mom yells at her child.”

WHAT? No.” (I said, while shrinking in my seat just a little.)

“It’s awful. It’s about this little llama who has a hard time falling asleep. He keeps calling for his Mama, but she gets really annoyed and totally berates him! It’s really hard to watch. In fact the picture shows little Llama Llama shielding his own frightened stuffed animal from the mother’s rage. I got rid of the book or I’d show you. I just didn’t want my kids exposed to that kind of negativity.”

“Oh my God. It sounds dreadful!

Bad mother? In a children’s book? Shocking! (Yes please.)

The next day, my kids and I hightailed it to our local library to find out more.

Character Assassination target spotted:

Only…

well…

when my kids and I read the book?

We totally sided with THE MAMA!

Y’all, seriously, that little Llama Llama is an asshole.

If I was that Llama’s Mama, I’d be in prison by now with no chance of parole.

Even my children, who sometimes say things that make me empathize with wolf spiders, were like, “Mom, that kid sucks.”

“Please don’t say the word sucks. Say, ‘I don’t care for that kid’ or ‘that’s inappropriate behavior’,” I admonished.

“Well that Mama Llama needs to do a better job establishing rules and boundaries,” my twelve year old son stated with disdain.

“Mom. Seriously. This book is horrible. I feel really bad for that poor Mama Llama,” sympathized Mini-Me.

“Dat Yama is a bad boy,” said four year old Bucket Head. “He needs a time out.”

I know. My kids are awesome. It’s true.

But how’d they come to this conclusion? Let’s break it down.

Here’s the horribly abusive Mama Llama, reading her little Llama Llama a bedtime story:

Boy, she looks like a real C U Next Tuesday, doesn’t she? Please note the creepy eyes on the little stuffed Llama on the side there. That’s important. We’ll address it in a moment.

After the bedtime story, Mama Llama kisses her child goodnight, goes downstairs, and starts doing the dishes.

This is my first problem.

Why is SHE doing the dishes?

Where the hell is Llama Llama’s Baby Daddy? Please tell me he cooked the dinner and is busy putting away the leftovers, because doing the kid’s bedtime AND the dishes is unfair division of labor if you ask me.

While Mama Llama is slaving away, little Llama Llama starts whining for her. He wants his Mama NOW.

Just then, the phone rings. (How is she holding that phone there, by the way?)

 

 

And you just know it’s probably the uptight director of the Little Llamas Preschool calling to tell Mama Llama that her kid is a biter.

Meanwhile, upstairs it sounds like an illegal exotic animals exhibit during a shooting spree. Here’s a sample of just SOME of his tantrum faces. Sheesh.

See what I mean? Holy guacamole, I really want to throat punch this little MFer.

Seriously. I’d rather listen to a continuous loop of the Vonage commercial song while watching someone set a compound fracture in a circus tent.

Naturally, by the time Mama finishes the kitchen clean up and dealing with the condescending preschool director who makes her feel like shit for breeding and raising such a “strong willed child,” she’s a little short-fused.

Can you blame her?

I mean really, she’s either a single mother or she’s married to a douchebag who is laying on the couch with one hand in his pants and the other in a bag of Lay’s® while she does EVERYTHING. And on top of it, her kid is a whiney pee-hole.

And no, this isn’t an isolated incident where little Llama Llama is just running a fever or had a bad day. He’s like this in EVERY Llama Llama book.

There is a scene in Llama Llama Mad at Mama where this kid throws a grocery store tantrum that makes Linda Blair in The Exorcist look like Shirley Temple.

Uh, clean up in aisle 9. (As Mama Llama circles back for more wine and some extra strength Benedryl.)

As for that page in Llama Llama Red Pajama that so disturbed my new friend Rebecca? You know, the one where the child is shielding his lovey from his abusive mother?

Okay, first of all, after all that ruckus, Mama Llama is totally justified to go in there and lay down the law. Secondly, is it really *that* abusive if she says “please” and phrases it in the positive? And thirdly, the supposedly traumatized stuffy? Bitch please, his little face looks like that ALL THE TIME:

 

 

 

 

If anything, I’m interpreting that dazed and confused face as: “Woman, get me outta here! This obnoxious kid is driving me nuts!”

So yes, like my friend Rebecca, I totally despise these books too. And no, I don’t want this kind of negativity in my house either. My kids don’t need any additional bad examples.

Goodbye Llama Llama. I’m sending your deadbeat dad a copy of Go the F**k to Sleep to read to you while Mama Llama and I hit the bars. Salud! 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There’s more where this came from. For the complete list of Character Assassinations, please visit Ninja Mom. Next up: the mucho snarkalicious Doc Cynicism. Hold onto your hats kids; it will be a doozy.

61 Comments

  1. Not only did you use “pee-hole” in a way that made me snort-laugh, you’ve saved me the trouble of reading any of these craptastic books. Think about it, you’re doing a public service. I’m not going to say Nobel . . . But I’m not *not* saying it. Feel me?

    Ima go ahead and put this Llama Llama fecal fleck on the most hated list. He’s in good company with that brat Pinkalicious and that MotherLovin’ tree boy. You know who.

    You have very, very successfully gone a turn on the Carousel! I salute you, soldier!

  2. That llama kid looks like AbbyGoat in labor…..

  3. Haha hilarious as usual. I am not familiar with these new books. Heck I still like Blueberries for Sal and Goodnight Moon!

    However, I am joining a book club and am quite excited (oldest daughter’s BFF since first grade). Unfortunately they are all Mormons, so there will be no wine and gossip, which is what I thought book clubs were all about. Apparently we will actually discuss the book! First is The Hunger Games, which I see is a Scholastic book. Does that mean they think kids should be reading this? I am on page 3 and I am already worried about children reading it!

  4. I’ve never read the Llama Llama books, and now, thanks to your astute take-down, I never will. I’m shocked that these tomes of lechery and loose morals in parenting and devil-child behavior have continued in publication. Disgusting excuse for children’s literature.

  5. Hi new friend! Remember me from the Bauers Christmas party? I so look forward to reading your blog and literally peed myself a little reading this to Jeff tonight. Baby llama is almost as bad as Caillou. Remember Caillou? I wanted to pummel that kid!

    -Tricia

    • Ohmygosh, Tricia! Hello! Of course I remember you! That night was a hoot. My favorite part was sitting outside with you and Amy and that bottle of wine and just laughing laughing laughing.

      My little guy went through a Caillou-loving phase; practically put me under. His voice alone makes my skin itch. We even had two Caillou books! “Oh sorry honey, Mommy can’t find the Caillou books today! I have no idea where they are.”

  6. Alleluia and holy sh*t! I needed a good laugh. Thank you!

  7. Strangle that little llama kid. I much prefer the Little Fur Family. Who knew that there was multiracial peace in the 1960s? Long time, no communicate. Sorry, I have been in England and on parent duty. But you might enjoy my latest post on the doll collection. Right up your alley…. xHarriet

  8. I think we have this book. I haven’t read it in a long time but I think I won’t pick it up anytime soon. That stuffed llama is creepy. He definitely looks like he wants to get out of that house. I enjoyed this post and am on my way to visit Ninja Mom.

  9. Brilliant. Just one question though – how come you and Rebecca are actually friends?

    • Fair enough, Kate! We have a dear mutual friend who is the meat to our odd sandwich. Perhaps opposites attract. The real question is, why does she seem to like ME?

  10. I have tears running down my face from laughing so hard! You are HILARIOUS!!!!! I believe we have the same preschool director, too!

    • Thank you! Oh man, that preschool director… there must be a preschool director certification class that turns sweet former preschool teachers into mean administrative mofos. How do they do that? Beat them with sand table toys?

  11. My 4.5yo daughter has read these in school and told me about them…which means I’ve never allowed them in my home.
    Like I need any bratty friggin’ llamas influencing her to interrupt my evenings even more. Sheesh.
    PS
    Someone needs to write a Llama Llama Save The Lovey book…that thing looks like he has PTSD

  12. We actually own both of these books and it never occurred to me to side with anyone but the Mama, which makes me also an unsympathetic tyrant. I actually mind these books less than anything featuring HORTON, so it’s a relief to read them.

    On a tangential note, did you know “sucks” comes from the expression (I’ve heard it as dating back to the early 20th century, and another English instructor told me as far back as Elizabethan times) “sucks last teat?” It was applied to runts in the livestock litter who got last go at the teat or if you believe the more modern story – just the teat near the Mom’s backside (which people imagine to be unappetizing for obvious reasons). Whatever the case, it does NOT mean what my mother thinks it means…you KNOW. The other thing. And thus concludes my etymology speech for Saturday.

  13. Michaela Mitchell

    January 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Ok, first HILARIOUS!

    Second, I actually like Llama, Llama books, because I use them to shame my children out of bad behavior. We read the books, and then I point out that there was no need for all that crap…my kids get it…If they were old enough, I think they would agree that Llama, Llama does indeed suck…

    • HA! Yes, if my children didn’t already come to that conclusion (probably out of fear of their own unstable Mama drama), I would totally use these books for the same instructional purpose: HOW NOT TO ACT. Well done, Michaela!

  14. I confess that I adore the Llama Llamas. The temper tantrums echo so much of what my own cretins are already doing that I feel comforted. (Also, I’ve always rather hated Mama for being so damned calm. The supermarket thing? Yeah I’d have lost it and dragged the kid to the car. No ice cream later for YOU!)

    • “True Confessions, Featuring Jessie, the Mom who loves Llamas…” LOL! Well I applaud your bravery to support Llama Llama, especially here, where I am spewing such Llama Llama vitriol! I’m with you on the calmness of the Mama Llama. I’m more likely to be the one throwing the grocery store tantrum “PUT THAT DOWN! NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT! YOU ARE DOING AN EXTENDED TIME OUT WHEN WE GET HOME!!!!”

  15. [wipes off coffee she snorted onto the screen] Hilarious. I’ve always been pissed that Mama Llama can’t just talk on the phone while Llama Daddy washes the dishes, takes Llama Llama to task, and vacuums. Cuz seriously, yo. She’s patient, but she must have limits.
    And if you can hold the phone without your hooves, why aren’t you using them for wine and blogging, like the rest of us?

    (I have to say I agree with Michaela and Jessie…we read those stories to show my kids that there are ridiculous assholish ways to ask for things and there are ways that might actually get you what you want. Llama Llama = wrong way jackwad.)

    (I also have to say I’m SUPER creeped out by the Bible illustration. Maybe Rebecca’s family could use a copy.)

    • Hilarious, Naptime. “And if you can hold the phone without your hooves, why aren’t you using them for wine and blogging, like the rest of us?” AMEN! I need to use the word jackwad more often…that rocks.

  16. I have never read one of these books because the title alone annoys me.
    Rhyming titles get on my nerves and my toddler repeats them for days so I avoid them.
    BUT with your genius breakdown and clever delivery of reason why this book needs to remain in the stores and out of my home I will continue to keep it away from me.

  17. OMG, Tricia D. totally said exactly what I was thinking… Llama Llama completely reminds me of that whiney fucker Cailloo with the bald-ass head. I hate that kid almost as much as I hate that pedofile purple dinosaur. I’m wondering if Rebecca has read Go the F*ck to Sleep (or heard the version read by Samuel L. Jackson (the BEST).

  18. Come on…it is SO fun to say, “Llama llama red pajama” It’s right up there with my other favorite-to-read book, “Remember the day the babies crawled away?”

    I’m not worried about my kids learning any lessons from this book because I’ve impressed upon them our simple family truth, “Mommy can’t hear you after 8:00 pm unless there is a fire alarm going off.” Seriously if I don’t hear the sound of breaking glass or impending vomit, this Mommy is off duty. See you at breakfast!

    Your friend Rebecca is probably notifying child protection services about my poor parenting this minute. Quick kids, into the car, we’re moving to a new home before the cops come to nab me!

  19. You never fail to make me laugh! I needed that after todays debacles with my own children. I believe I have read ALL of the Llama books and have never once felt like she was negative towards her “child.” Kids these days are too coddled!!!!!

  20. Oh my, laughed till I cried, what a classic. I laughed your kids’ comments. And I believe I had that same childrens’ bible too. I’m glad didn’t have no llama baby …

  21. You made my morning! Thank you! Even my 9 year old, reading it with me, cracked up! Where have you been all my life, woman!

    Have a lovely day,

    Salena

    • Thanks! But, GULP…you let your 9 year old read it with you??? Uh, sorry about the whole “climax sounding like a Tibetan Prayer Bowl” part. And sorry for all the F bombs too. And MFers. And C U Next Tuesday. And the violent references to things like throat punching and homicide and prison. And alcohol references.

      ::Hanging my head in shame::

      • Haha My poor kid is homeschooled and isn’t socialized enough to know what most of that stuff is. He recognized throat punch but that’s it lol. The death-like grip I have on my kids….

  22. After checking out those buggy eyes, I think little Llama Llama’s stuffy is getting a reach- around from naked Satan.

    It would explain a lot, no?
    And the Bible is always relevant.

  23. This is the best book review I’ve read in a long time! And seriously, what’s up with that creepy bible? Tell me Eve isn’t toying with Adam’s fig leaf in Genesis?

    • Ha! Thanks! I’m going to have to go and look at the picture for Adam and Eve…but yes, it is probably totally inappropriate. The beheading of John the Baptist page? VILE!

  24. I was reading this out loud with my husband in the room and he didn’t stop laughing from the moment he saw Satan’s reach around. There was a campaign this fall in to get everyone in the world to reach Llama Llama at the same time. I wonder if it sold more books or just make the parents wack their kids in the head with it for making them buy the damn thing. Hysterical, Iris!

    • Who doesn’t enjoy a good reach-around illustration in a children’s book? 😉 But thank you, I’m so glad you and your husband laughed at this. I LOVE hearing that people read my stuff aloud to their husbands…that just sounds like such an awesome relationship. The couple the reads together…

      …weeds together? Feeds together?

  25. Okay. Between you and the corduroy assassination, I’m starting to get intimidated. But I’m gonna try to rise the occasion when the time comes because Winnie the Pooh really really deserves it.

  26. I’m pretty sure the author of the llama, llama series visited my kids’ elementary school last year. I’m also pretty sure that I haven’t read any of the llama, llama books and now I’ll be sure not to bother! Loved the reach-around and biter bits – I didn’t have a biter but I’ve had plenty of calls like that. IMHO, the all-time worst children’s book is “Love You Forever.” The mother in that book is totally twisted…I love my kids but when they’re adults I sure as hell am not gonna strap a ladder to my pickup truck and drive over to their houses in the dead of night so I can climb in their bedroom windows to cuddle and sing to them. What kind of psycho would?

  27. Great perspective. I have to say that I agree with you. I read this book to my boy when he was just a toddler, and I’ve always liked the Llama books, but that kid is a whiny little bitch.

  28. SALUD!! You made this Mama snort-laugh!

  29. Mama Llama needs to do a better job establishing rules and boundaries— that is my favorite line in this post. Good for your 12 year old for knowing that Llama Mama has a lot more work to do than washing dishes. The stuffed llama has really creepy eyes. Actually the whole thing is creepy. I don’t like their creepy llama feet and the creepy pouting puss of that baby llama. Found you at the Ninja Mom and I have no idea where I found her!

  30. I just found out about this meme so I’m reading backwards. Thank you SO MUCH! for covering Llama Llama. I despise those books, especially the one where they go to the store and Llama Llama throws a fit and throws stuff off the shelves….ugh

  31. Ugh, I hate the Llama Llama books! Although I base that sentiment solely on the supermarket-tantrum book we read when my girl was 2, because we haven’t read any Llama books since. I cannot believe the mama not only let him get away with that wretched tantrum, but he was actually rewarded for it (did someone mention they got ice cream afterwards? I blocked out the details of that awful book, but I remember being irritated that he got something good after that kind of behavior).

    I made sure to tell my little girl that that was a completely unacceptable way of acting, and I think I fudged many of the words. I seem to remember that in my version Mama Llama actually gave her brat a good talking-to.

  32. We read these llama llama books every single night. Unfortunately my child relates very closely with llama llama, the whiny petulant brat. I have since purchased the subsequent llama books. I know. It’s like I hate myself.
    The author is local to my area, so you can imagine the llama frenzy.

    • Oh sweet Jesus…you are living in the vortex of LLAMAGEDDON! I’ma pray for you, sister. (But also, you are totally awesome for supporting a local author and therefore the good karma you sow will protect you and your spawn from all longterm petulant whininess. God speed!)

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