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LLAMAPHONES by Janik Coat Kirkus Star


by Janik Coat ; illustrated by Janik Coat

Pub Date: March 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2827-3
Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

What’s this we “See / Sea”? It’s a trendy llama, here to introduce witty pairs of homophones with humor, tactile elements, and a whole lotta flare—erm, flair.

How can a flat green silhouette of a llama be so darned hilarious? Drawn with distinctive perked ears, black dotted eyes, and rectangular body with rounded corners, face deadpan, it’s the very essence of llama. Llama’s hijinks graphically differentiate between the homophones, making them easy to define, such as silvery embossed hoof “prints” trailing behind it on one page and a regally clad “prince” on the other. Coat adds pizzazz as well as contextual clues through a surprising variety of touch-and-feel pieces, among them moving hands on an analog clock marking time on “wait” or a “peek”-aboo baby llama under a lift-the-flap blanket. If it sounds gimmicky, fear not; the book revels in hyperbole. Whether it’s a llama biting a pink “rose,” tango-style, or an emotionless “fairy” with textured, glittery wings, the contrast of flamboyant effects to solemn llamas is audaciously funny. There is a mismatch between format and concept here; homophones are abstract and better suited to older readers than the tot set. Still, there’s a scarcity of quality books about homophones, and the sophisticated humor should beguile big kids. Oversized trim also suits that older audience.

These captivating llamas deliver. Readers won’t be bored by this board book! (Board book. 5-8)