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Llama Llama and friends!
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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Though Dewdney passed away in 2016, she had left behind a large body of unpublished work which is being released by her longtime partner, Reed Duncan.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.

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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 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, Netflix renewed the program for a second season, as well as two specials.

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


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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.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: "Happy Birthday Llama Llama".
  • Alliterative Name: There's Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Gilroy Goat, among others. 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.
  • 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.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The entire cast.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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: Llama Llama was originally a somewhat bratty toddler who threw tantrums because of not getting his mama's attention. By the time of the animated Llama Llama series, based on the book release Llama Llama and Friends, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: It's in the very title of the series.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band: Llama Llama the Hero, Nelly Gnu the Lancer, Gilroy the Big Guy, Euclid the Smart Guy, and Luna the Chick
  • Fully Dressed 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.
  • Furry Confusion: In one episode, we see a non-anthro rabbit, despite anthro rabbits appearing as minor characters in other episodes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It's All About Me: Earlier books in the series in particular are about Llama Llama causing drama because he wants his Mama's attention. As he gets older, he starts to grow out of it.
  • I Want My Mommy!: This is a big part of the earlier books. Late at night or when he's feeling scared and alone at school, little 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Petting Zoo People: In the original books, however, the look for the animated series trends rather more towards Funny Animal. In any case, 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, but regardless, the characters still only really look like animals and have animal names. Their behaviors and concerns are almost entirely human in nature.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The main protagonist is a llama and and his best friend is a wildebeest. This makes the Llama Llama series, one of the few depictions of an anthropomorphic llama and wildebeest in children's media.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Humans are nowhere to be seen.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lenora Leopard on the animated series has purple hair, though it's not specified if the color is natural.
  • 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.

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