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Literature / Llama Llama

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Llama Llama and friends! note 

Llama Llama is a series of children's picture books written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. The books feature the adventures of the title character, a young Llama, in situtations such as wanting his Mama Llama late at night, going to school for the first time, facing off against a bully and getting overwhelmed during the holidays. A character from the series, his best friend Nelly Gnu, appeared in a spin-off book titled Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too.

Though Dewdney passed away of brain cancer in 2016, she had left behind a large body of unpublished work which is being released by her longtime partner, Reed Duncan. Dewdney's last wish was, rather than having a funeral, that fans celebrate her life by reading to a child.

The series gained a bit of a popular culture following when the rapper Ludacris performed the original book, Llama Llama Red Pajama, as a rap. The books themselves were already extremely popular, having all been bestsellers and published in a number of languages and formats.

The series has been adapted by Netflix and Genius Brands International as an animated series of the same name beginning on January 26, 2018. The series is directed by Rob Minkoff, director of The Lion King (1994) as well as Saul Blinkoff of Doc McStuffins, with Joe Purdy of Dinosaur Train as showrunner. Jennifer Garner (Alias) is the voice of Mama Llama. The first trailer can be seen here. On June 19, 2018 Netflix renewed the program for a second season, as well as two specials. The second season premiered in November 2019. Somewhat unusually, despite the series being a Netflix Original, it has been released widely on a number of other platforms, including a number of DVD releases and for digital purchase.

A stage show, Llama Llama Live!, debuted in 2019.

Llama Llama contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The original Llama Llama, Red Pajama book was just Llama Llama (then known as Baby Llama) in bed wanting his Mama. The episode based on the book adds a first half with him and Mama Llama riding around town on their bikes and hanging out, then Grandma and Grandpa Llama coming over right before Llama goes to bed.
  • An Aesop: The series tries to teach lessons such as being patient, sharing with others, and standing up to a bully.
  • Age Lift: A minor example with the titular protagonist Llama Llama. Between Llama Llama Red Pajama until Llama Llama Misses Mama he was clearly a toddler and openly cried after Mama Llama leaves on his first day of preschool. In the Netflix series, he's capable of speaking full sentences and already started Kindergarten making him possibly around the age of 5 or 6.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Happy Birthday Llama Llama.
  • Alliterative Name: There's Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Gilroy Goat, among others. The second season reveals that the horse girl in the pink and yellow shirt is named Hilda Hackney, and also introduces Henry Hedgehog. There's also Nelly's brother Newman Gnu, which doubles as a Punny Name. Since the series is named after its protagonist, also counts as Alliterative Title.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: On the animated series, Llama Llama and Mama Llama sometimes show familial affection by rubbing noses.
  • Animated Adaptation: The Netflix animated series is an animated adaptation using the characters and concepts of the books, but otherwise presented as original television stories, like Franklin or Timothy Goes to School.
  • Are We There Yet?: In "Noisy Neighbor", Llama Llama asks this of Mama Llama during the walk to the house whose yard he and his friends are cleaning, despite it being just across the street. Although this is not obvious at first, a scene a bit later actually shows them to waving to each on opposite sides of the street.
  • Art Evolution: The later books, along with the TV series, have a smoother, more stylized, and less detailed look to them than the early books.
    • Early promotional material for the Netflix series had different character designs for Llama Llama, Gilroy Goat, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep which is seen on this page image. By the time the Netflix series arrived, their character designs were given a minor redesign looking more accurate to their original book designs.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: In "Let's Go Camping" a crow call is heard at night, despite corvids being diurnal.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Despite the cast mainly consisting of herbivorous animals, they're often seen eating meat products like fish casserole and sausage.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • In the original books, Luna Giraffe only made one appearance in the 2014 Christmas book "Llama Llama Jingle Bells" where she's hanging out with Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu around Christmas and spotted singing Christmas carols with him. In the Netflix series, she's one of the main characters.
    • The same can be said for Euclid the sheep who's also a main character in the Netflix series. Prior to the Netflix series, he only appeared in the book Llama Llama Easter Egg which was one of Dewdney's last completed Llama Llama books before her passing in late 2016.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: All of the characters are this for the most part. In the animated series, there is even a sheep kid whose standard outfit is a blue suit-shirt with a yellow undershirt, red tie and dress pants (but no shoes).
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Officer Flamingo scares the kids as one of these in the Halloween Episode "Llama Llama, Trick or Treat". Well, all of them except Euclid, who isn't scared of ghosts, because "Scientifically speaking, they aren't solid matter."
  • Big "NO!":
    • Llama does this when he realizes he forgot to bring Fuzzy Llama to his grandparents' house.
    • Also when his toast burns in the "Lucky Pajamas" episode.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Llama Llama in the earlier books, less so in the later books.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In "Saving Luna's Necklace", Nelly Gnu has a peanut butter and pickle sandwich for lunch and seems happy about it.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • Euclid in Llama Llama Loves to Read.
      I think I'll get a book about counting numbers. Or pirates. Or... counting pirates?
    • In "Band Together", when Llama learns that it's about to be his Grams's birthday, he suggests getting her a circus, then an airplane, then an airplane with a circus inside.
    • While discussing Mother's Day plans, Nelly Gnu says she'd like to take her mother rollerblading, or picnicking, or "roller-picnicking."
  • The Bully: Llama Llama and the Bully Goat is about Llama Llama and his friends having to deal with a bully named Gilroy Goat. Promotional material for the animated series indicates that this issue will come up on the show as well, though deep down Gilroy wants to have friends but doesn't quite know how to go about it.
  • Caretaker Reversal: Mama Llama gets sick after caring for her son in Llama Llama Home With Mama.
  • Cartoon Physics: In "Lucky Pajamas", when Mama Llama agrees to let Llama Llama wear his "lucky pajamas" for the whole day, he gives a leap in the air that is rather too high, too slow and too sustained to be realistic.
  • Character Development: In the earliest books, Llama Llama was a somewhat bratty toddler who sometimes threw tantrums because of not getting his mama's attention and didn’t know how to share. In the other books & in the animated series, he's a chipper preschooler who sings a cheery tune while heading out to happily do a day of errands for his mama.
  • Character Title/Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The animated series is titled simply Llama Llama. Certain of the books follow the format, such as Llama Llama and the Bully Goat and Llama Llama and Friends. Other titles leave out only the "and", i.e. Llama Llama Red Pajama and Llama Llama Holiday Drama.
  • Companion Cube: Llama Llama has his Fuzzy Llama and in the television series often takes it with him even when going out, such as running errands for Mama Llama.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "Llama Llama Light Show", when Euclid mentions the upcoming meteor shower, Gilroy comments that he likes baths better.
  • Counting Sheep: In "Sleepover at Gilroy's", Euclid wakes up Llama Llama due to his sneezing from allergies. He tells Llama that his family counts sheep to fall asleep. So Llama Llama counts him and falls asleep at a count of four.
  • Disappeared Dad: Llama Llama has a warm and loving relationship with his Mama Llama, which is good, because a Daddy Llama is never seen. It's never explained why he lives with only Mama.
  • Disease-Prevention Aesop: In the wake of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic, a clip was produced with Jennifer Garner as the voice of Mama Llama telling little llamas to not touch their faces and to remember to wash their hands. It comes complete with a modified snippet of the show's theme tune with lyrics encouraging handwashing.
  • Doomed Supermarket Display: In "Llama Llama Shopping Drama", Llama Llama has a tantrum at the grocery store and starts throwing things out of the cart. Another shopper jumps sideways to avoid being hit by a projectile, crashes into a pyramid of cans, and knocks the entire thing over.
  • Dreadful Musician: Gilroy sings a song he wrote his mom for Mother's Day. He's loud and enthusiastic but nowhere near being on pitch.
  • Edutainment Show: The books and the series both aim to teach, though it is pretty much entirely of the pro-social values variety.
  • Everyone Laughs Ending: Mama Llama and Llama Llama have a laugh at the end of Time to Share when she "shares" the last piece of cake with him by smearing the icing on his, her and possibly Fuzzy Llama's noses.note 
  • Expy: In the earlier books, Llama Llama was like a llama version of Caillou, inverted later on though.
  • Expressive Ears: Llama Llama has these in both the book releases and animated series. In one installment, he droops them and pins back against head, when Mama Llama announces a shopping trip. Several of the other characters have ears with hang down all the time by default, but are nevertheless used for this more subtly. In "Bully Goat," when Nelly Gnu tries to exclude Gilroy Goat from play after he's been a bully, even though he apologized, his ears shift more towards his head.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: The animated Llama Llama show depicts Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu and Gilroy Goat all wearing helmets while out scootering or riding bikes and wearing lifejackets while in a boat. All of them include the typical holes for the characters' Expressive Ears to stick out of, as well as, in the case of Nelly and Gilroy, holes for their little horns. Curiously, though, Llama is helmet-free while riding his scooter in the Llama Llama and Friends book based an installment of the series.
  • Feather Fingers: Or hoof fingers. None of the characters have thumbs, but they have no problems holding or manipulating objects.
  • Funny Animal: The characters are all animals, and generally within the same basic class - llamas, gnus, goats, etc. The television series branches out, adding a giraffe, a sheep and an elephant, among others. Their behaviors and concerns are almost entirely human in nature.
  • Furry Confusion: In one episode, we see a non-anthro rabbit, despite anthro rabbits appearing as minor characters in other episodes.
  • Furry Reminder: In the episode "Llama Llama and the Bully Goat", when Llama Llama and his friends are practicing their singing skills in Kindergarten. Gilroy is seen mocking the other students singing skills (mainly at Llama Llama). At one point, he's heard mockingly bleating at Llama to further embarrass him.
  • Girls With Mustaches: Nelly has a visible beard despite being a preschool-aged girl. Justified, in that she IS a gnu, an animal known for sporting a beard even as a calf. By extension, her mother has a beard as well.
  • Good Parents: Much of the story of the books is about the warm relationship between Llama Llama and his Mama Llama, while Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too is about Nelly having a fun day with her father making a box fort. In the animated series, Mama Llama is considered such an important character that her voice actress was the first to be announced and a celebrity voice actor at that, Jennifer Garner.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Nelly is sometimes jealous of her baby brother Newman, though she does love him.
  • Grocery Store Episode: The picture book Llama Llama Mad at Mama is about Llama Llama going grocery store shopping with his Mama Llama and having a tantrum because, like a lot of kids, he finds it extremely boring. This book was also released under the title Llama Llama Shopping Drama and expanded as an installment of the television series.
  • Happy Dance: Llama Llama does one on the sofa in "Mama Llama's Mother's Day" after Mama Llama agrees to some of his big Mother's Day plans that he had originally scrapped after overhearing her say she would be okay with a nice, quiet Mother's Day.
  • Imagine Spot: The show bible for the animated Llama Llama series indicates that these are a part of it. It states of Llama Llama that "...he knows how he feels, is not afraid to show his emotions and can connect with others to build meaningful and joyous relationships. (We visualize from time to time what he is imagining.)" It goes on to describe these fantasies as being Calvin and Hobbes-ian," and that he "sometimes transports himself to wild places and sees exotic creatures there but these experiences are just products of his creative imagination - the way he processes and dissipates his fears."
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Since author/illustrator Anna Dewdney's passing the series has been referred to promotionally as Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama.
  • Iris Out: Actually not the standard method of closing the show, this is nevertheless used at the end of "Lucky Pajamas," zooming on Mama Llama's face.
  • I Want My Mommy!: This was a big part of the earlier books. Late at night or when he's feeling scared and alone at school, Llama Llama wants his Mama Llama.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: Deliberately used in Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too which is about Llama Llama's friend Nelly and her Daddy Gnu building a box fort and then decorating it with floral patterns.
  • Limited Wardrobe: It's clear that the characters in the animated series have other clothes, since "Llama Llama Shopping Drama" shows Llama Llama modeling a number of reasonable outfits for Mama Llama and he's also shown selecting his shirt in the morning from a stack of several differently-colored shirts. Despite this, each of the characters has a standard outfit they wear when not specifically dressed for the weather.
    • Llama Llama - A bright red shirt underneath a green jumpsuit with gold buckles.
    • Nelly Gnu - A purple shirt with a bright yellow flower over pink shorts going down to her knees.
    • Luna Giraffe - Lime green shirt and bright purple bottoms, and pink glasses with flower accessories
    • Euclid - A business blue button-up shirt with a light yellow undershirt, red tie and pen in the pocket over brown pants down to his knees, with plain black glasses
    • Gilroy Goat - A light green shirt with yellow stripes and a white collar with black buttons over short blue pants
  • Loose Tooth Episode: In "Loose Tooth Drama", Llama loosens one of his teeth when he's having lunch. His friends and grandparents offer suggestions as to how to take it out and Llama is curious about the tooth fairy. Later, it falls out and he can't find it, but his mother has him write a letter to the tooth fairy so she knows it's there and then it's revealed that the tooth was right by his bed the whole time.
  • Musical Chores: A book release based on the television series, Llama Llama and Friends, depicts Llama Llama singing "It's so much fun having errands to run!" as he heads out on his scooter to run errands for Mama Llama.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Grandpa Llama's "Linty Llama" plush toy appears in the book Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa, but isn't referred to by the name "Linty Llama" until the television story "Forgotten Fuzzy" adapted from the book.
  • Nice Guy: The title character is a nice person most of the time, with the exception of the earlier books, where he was more of a brat.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the series takes various clips from separate episodes out of context and splices them together in a way that's different from how they actually occur. For instance...
    • Llama Llama's Big "NO!" after Mama Llama says they're going shopping? That's actually from the Lucky Pajamas episode when he burns his toast.
    • Speaking of the shopping episode, the trailer makes it look like Llama gets frustrated about shopping while they're still at home, and Mama Llama decides to make shopping fun as soon as they arrive at the store. In actuality, it's not until after they've spent a good amount of time shopping that Llama throws a big tantrum, and then Mama helps resolve everything.
    • The trailer also implies that Llama didn't want to go shopping because he had some big day of fun with his friends planned. In truth, his plans for the day just involve playing various games and puzzles all day with Mama Llama, which is why his initial reaction to shopping isn't really negative, since they're going sneaker shopping together and he's promised a treat once the trip is over.
  • Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: "Happy Birthday Llama Llama" has a fairly obvious forgotten birthday plot going on from the beginning when Llama's excited about his birthday, but it seems like none of his friends want to play with him. Fairly obvious to the viewer, anyway. Llama was caught off-guard because he had been told his party wasn't until later in the week. Nevertheeless, Llama's friends actually chide him for not realizing what they were up to even though they were obviously leaving him out of something, which they would normally never do.
  • Ocular Gushers: In "Llama Llama Shopping Drama", after Llama Llama has his tantrum in the middle of the store, in front all the shoppers, a hedgehog kid cries these and an adult male deer standing next to him immediately does so as well.
  • One of the Boys: Being the tomboy that she is, Nelly Gnu tends to play a bit aggressive and rough, and even admits to it in "Time To Share" after she and Llama Llama get in a fight which ends with Fuzzy Llama being torn apart.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: The original book Llama Llama Red Pajama, of course, has Llama Llama in his pajamas and is set at bedtime. The story was adapted for the animated series as well, though the bedtime portion only occurs towards the end of the story and he's only in his pajamas then. However, the story "Lucky Pajamas" is specifically about him being in his pajamas all day because he believes them to have become lucky after Mama Llama sewed them.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Llama Llama Lemonade", Mama Llama, trying to cheer up Llama about his not getting any customers for his lemonade stand, shows up to his stand wearing a brown fedora, coat and pants and bad fake mustache, speaking in an awful Australian accent and calling him "mate". The mustache falls off as she drinks the lemonade. Afterwards, just for giggles, she keeps coming back to the stand in a variety of other obvious disguises with Llama's full knowledge, including an upper-class British lady, a business suit and sunglasses and a ranch-hand.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Nelly Gnu loves sports, particularly skateboarding and rollerblading. She can easily best the boys at most athletic activities.
  • Protagonist and Friends: The first book adapted from material from the animated series is titled Llama Llama and Friends. This has led at least one source to incorrectly refer to the series itself as Llama Llama and Friends. This is wrong - the animated show is called simply Llama Llama.
  • Red Is Heroic: Llama Llama has a red shirt is the main protagonist of the series, although this is less pronounced earlier on.
  • Record Needle Scratch:
    • In "Job Day", right before the kids are told which adults they're going to be paired with for Job Day, Luna expresses to the other kids that there's no way she'd want to be paired with Officer Flamingo, whose job isn't creative. Thus naturally when the assignments are given out, Luna is paired with Officer Flamingo, accompanied by this sound effect.
    • In the opening of "The Snow Must Go On", there's one after Nelly and Luna announce that they're planning to have their nearly created "Snow Games" tomorrow.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: "Bully Goat" from the animated series has this briefly for Gilroy Goat when Nelly Gnu tries to stop him from playing in a game even after he had already apologized for being a meanie. Fortunately, Llama Llama puts the kibosh on it right away since it's fairly obvious his apology was sincere.
  • Rhyming Title: The first five books:
    • Llama Llama Red Pajama
    • Llama Llama Mad at Mama
    • Llama Llama Misses Mama
    • Llama Llama Holiday Drama
    • Llama Llama Home with Mama
  • Secret Santa: An entire story from the television series involves Llama Llama and the other kids in his class being Secret Santas to each other and struggling to figure out what gifts to pick. Llama Llama is Secret Santa to Gilroy, while Luna is his Secret Santa.
  • Sick Episode: The book Llama Llama Home With Mama. This was adapted for the animated series.
  • Signature Move: In "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!" Llama Llama's grandpa tells him that scooter racing is "all about confidence... and a signature move." He calls his the "Llama Drift", a slick spinning turn which he demonstrates to Llama confidently even with it having been 62 years since he himself was a scooter champion.
  • Sixth Ranger: Season 2 introduces Audrey Antelope, a young female antelope who has a disability (a stub arm and a metal leg) alongside having a lisp.
  • Slice of Life: The books and animated series are about day-to-day issues of childhood, such as separation anxiety during a first day of school, dealing with a bully, or struggling with sharing toys.
  • Soup Is Medicine: In "Home With Mama", Llama Llama has a cold. Mama brings him a bowl of noodle soup with a glass of orange juice and some grapefruit slices on the side, telling him that "sleep, soup, and citrus" is an old family remedy for colds. By the episode's end, Llama's feeling fine, but now Mama has a cold. So naturally, he brings her an identical tray of soup and citrus.
  • Species Surname: The character naming all follows this, but the main character is an unusual case. In the original book, Llama Llama Red Pajama, he was known as "Baby Llama", but in later installments he was no longer a baby, so he became Llama Llama instead, or sometimes simply "Llama". His mother is Mama Llama, and other characters include Nelly Gnu and Gilroy Goat.
  • Spirited Competitor: Nelly Gnu again, as the tomboyish young athlete.
  • Spock Speak: Euclid is immediately obvious as an intellectual type and very much speaks like this, both in word use and his general tone and style of speaking.
    Nelly: This is so cool! An indoor beach.
    Euclid: I've calculated that the beach fits here and the net here.
  • Surprise Party: In Llama Llama and Friends, the first book release based on the television series, Mama Llama sends Llama out on a morning of errands which includes gathering stuff like streamers, flowers and cupcakes. When he gets home, it turns out that all of it is for a surprise party that Mama Llama is holding for him because he's always such a good helper.
  • Talk About the Weather: In "Snow Show", none of the kids are allowed to talk with Llama Llama about their snow sculptures because he's the judge. So when Luna Giraffe encounters him, she comments on how they're having "nice weather" which results in a bemused "I guess" from him because it's a gray, cloudy winter day. She says it looks like it might snow, but they won't talk about snow because then they might talk about snow sculptures, which just isn't allowed.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: "Llama Llama Shopping Drama" opens with Llama Llama in bed sniffing and commenting to his stuffed toy "Fuzzy, you can't take a bath in ice cream!", followed immediately by him waking up.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Llama Llama and Mama observe clouds in the animated series "Llama Llama Red Pajama" and Llama Llama sees one that reminds him of his favorite red pajamas.
  • Title Theme Tune: "It's a Llama Llama day / Time to learn and time to play..."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe have this relationship, with the former being rough, outdoorsy, and enjoying sports, while the latter enjoys crafts, dancing, and other "girly" activities.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In the animated series, Llama Llama really has a thing for pancakes. He even gets a birthday cake made of pancakes.
  • Two-Timer Date: In "Spring Fever", Llama Llama is scheduled for both Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe's beginning-of-spring events and tries to help them both. Unlike most examples, however, they're aware of what he's doing and eventually have to admit they're making him do too much. They end up combining the two events.
  • Water Is Dry:
    • In "Llama Llama and the Babysitter", Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and the babysitter Molly Badger play with the hose, spraying it over-top of themselves while watering the garden and a bit later they lose control of the hose. None of them appears to get the slightest bit wet.
    • On the flipside, the characters are regularly shown to have water splashing off of them both in the pool and in the beach in "Beach Day".
  • What Are Records?: When the band cancels for Grams's birthday party in "Band Together" due to having the flu, Mama Llama tells Llama Llama that they'll play Grams's favorite song on an old-school vinyl or a CD. Llama asks what those are; she chuckles and describes them as "ancient technology, but they'll play the kind of music we're looking for."
  • World of Funny Animals: Llama Llama's world is populated by animals such as llamas, gnus, goats and in the television series sheep and giraffes, among others. Minor/background characters seen in "Llama Llama Shopping Drama" include hedgehogs, a deer, dogs and a rabbit, while "Llama Llama Loves to Read" has a hippo, a cat and a chipmunk among the little kids that Llama Llama and his classmates read to. Hedgehogs are seen in the second season. Humans are nowhere to be seen.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Llama Llama Holiday Drama has Llama Llama and his Mama Llama doing holiday sales and otherwise prepping for the holidays, eventually resulting in "holidrama". In the board book Llama Llama Jingle Bells, however, they celebrate Christmas and a "Llama Santa" is even mentioned.


Video Example(s):


Llama Llama

Llama Llama's tantrum drives a child AND an adult to tears.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / OcularGushers

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