When Kendall was a baby, I signed up for one of those monthly book clubs – the kind where they send you a few new books a month and charge you if you don’t send them back. Of course, I never sent anything back, and we built up quite a library that year. All the while, Scott was like, “OMG stop. We don’t need to spend money on this. He’s a baby.”
I can’t say that we loved every book they sent, I may have even hidden a few. But, in the first box I got from them was Llama Llama Red Pajama & Llama Llama Misses Mama, so the subscription for that year was worth it just for the introduction to Llama Llama books alone, and all the times I teared up reading the line, “Mama Llama, YOU CAME BACK!” to my toddlers about to head to Mothers Day Out for the first time.
Over 8 years, we’ve bought nearly every Llama Llama book that’s come out, eagerly pre-ordering new releases. We’ve gifted them to friends and family, and Anna Dewdney’s beloved Mama Llama and Baby Llama have become a part of our family, in a way.
My motherhood has been painted with evenings, afternoons, and many mornings of stories of Llama drama. I can recite most by heart, and have been known to do so when out and about without the books.
One might say it’s the pregnancy hormones to blame for my reaction to Dewdney’s passing yesterday, but I think it was the feeling of a chapter of my motherhood abruptly coming to an end. I cried like I can’t remember crying for someone I don’t really know.
It is sad to think of all the Llama drama that could have still been in her when she passed- of the new stories for new generations of children and parents to enjoy. Conversely, it is a joy to know we will always have the books she left behind, and there are many, and they are wonderful.
And now I know exactly which books I’ll be reading and donating to Leyna’s kindergarten class this year.
“Children’s author, illustrator, and educator Anna Dewdney, whose toddler-centric picture books starring wildly expressive Baby Llama are multi-million-copy bestsellers, died at her home in Vermont on Saturday, September 3, after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. She was 50.” – Publishers Weekly