Review Blog

Sep 15 2020

Dharma the llama by Matt Cosgrove

cover image

Koala Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760669201.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. The picture of big eyed Dharma on the cover will delight younger readers as they reach out for the next incarnation of Cosgrove's wonderful llama series of books. Dharma is number six of an especially enticing series of stories about this odd creature, introducing a new animal to younger readers as well as a sound bit of advice through the story. This time it is about being yourself, as Dharma has to ignore the sneers and jibes from the herd as they go about their together things, pushing her to join in. But Dharma likes being herself: she likes to pick flowers and read for ages, sleep in after she lies awake at night reading, but above all to read. When reading she can involve herself in a book, being a pirate or adventurer, a witch or an astronaut. One day as the herd passes by jeering, so involved in looking crankily her way, they neglect to see a sign warning them of a cliff. They all tumble over, finding themselves stuck in the mud below.
It is up to Dharma to rescue them. She uses all the things she has found out about in her books to get them out of the mud: she swings on a rope like a pirate, lowers herself like an astronaut to rescue some others, then makes a rope ladder - she also reads non-fiction, to secure the rest.
Everyone is happy to be rescued and throw Dharma a big party, but of course, she is reading and neglects to go.
Cosgrove's rhyming pairs of lines will thrill younger readings, who will eagerly predict the rhyming word, and by the end of the book will have learnt several lines enabling them to join in. Recognising the books she reads will be another adventure for sharp-eyed readers, and finding Dharma in the end papers will add an extra layer of interest to the story.
And dedicated to all librarians 'who share their love of books and spread the joy of reading', what library will be without this book on the display shelf.
Themes: Llamas, Behaviour, Being yourself, Bullying, Self awareness.
Fran Knight

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