It’s picture day, and everyone wants to look their best—including a very hairy llama.
To prepare for picture day, an unnamed black boy must fix his pet llama’s unruly hair. It turns out that making a llama photoworthy is no easy endeavor: after catching his llama and convincing him to get a haircut, the little boy must wash and detangle his pet’s hair. Next, the pair must choose a hairstyle. After vacillating among choices ranging from a bowl cut to a mohawk, they settle on a “simple trim from nose to tail.” When the llama still won’t cooperate, the boy decides to take a different approach, leading to a twist ending. It is refreshing to see a black protagonist in a comedic story, and the combination of second-person narration and cartoonish illustrations proves witty and engaging. Adults will appreciate Hill’s (When Your Lion Needs a Bath, 2017) numerous winks to parents, who may recognize parallels between cutting a llama’s hair and caring for a toddler. However, the narrative is too advanced for the typical board-book–age reader. The conflict involves picture day, an occasion that will be unfamiliar to children who do not yet attend school. The ending falls flat, partly because it involves an abstract leap too complex for very young readers.
Overall, a mismatch of story and format. (Board book. 3-5)