Dharma the Llama Review

Title: Dharma the Llama
Author & Illustrator: Matt Cosgrove
Published:  July 2020
Publisher: Scholastic
Readership: Children
Genre: Picturebook
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $17.99

I received a copy of Dharma the Llama from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dharma the Llama doesnt run with the herd. She likes to do things her own way. The other llamas dont understand why she is always reading. But when the herd get into trouble, can Dharmas books save the day?

Dharma the Llama is the latest book in what Matt Cosgrove recently referred to (on the Words and Nerds podcast) as the Macca-verse – essentially setting the story in the same universe as his Macca the Alpaca books (which are also fantastic children’s books). Cosgrove writes and illustrates witty, entertaining children’s books and I was grateful to receive a review copy of his latest release.

Dharma the Llama is about a very independent and forward-thinking llama called Dharma, who loves to read. She reads all the time, even when she should be busy doing ‘llama-things’. One day, while she’s reading, the other llamas stumble across a bit of trouble and it’ll take all of Dharma’s learned knowledge to help get her friends out to it.

First up, I love ANY book that celebrates a love of reading. I feel a little like Dharma might be my spirit-animal – she’ll do anything to just keep reading, even when others don’t understand her passion. And it must be said that skipping a party to read is exactly something I would do!

But, most importantly, it highlights how we learn through reading. When it comes time for Dharma to help out her friends, it’s the things she’s learnt in the books she’s read that enable to her get them out of trouble and I think that’s an important message to share with kids – we don’t just read because people tell us to do, we do it because we love it and because we can learn about the world, about new perspectives and how to do new things through books.

Cosgrove’s illustrations are bright and cheerful and invite the reader to look closer. My favourite parts where the pages when Dharma is reading books – when you look closely, Cosgrove has taken very famous children’s books and inserted ‘llama’ in one of the nouns and it’s would be a lot of fun to talk to kids about which books they are and how would the stories be different if they really did have a llama in them.

Dharma is just such a sweet, fun-loving, free-spirited character who will capture readers’ hearts, and the lyrical, rhyming language just begs to be read aloud with joy. It was a great story and I can’t wait to share it with my students.

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