Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan.
Published by Farshore, 2021.
Llama on a Mission is the second book in this hilarious new series. With shades of James Bond and Men in Black, guardian llamas, and a familiar school setting, there’s lots here that will appeal to young readers.
Yasmin Shah is just like any other ten-year-old girl with a crazy loud family, the BEST best friend ever, and problems at school. She just happens to also have a guardian llama – Levi! Originally, Levi was a toy but in book one he was made real and suspended from Seen not Herd, the secret organisation of guardian llamas. Now Yasmin and Levi are on a mission: to turn Levi back into his guardian llama toy form and get him back into Seen Not Herd.
The book is really funny. First off, there’s a ridiculous llama with all his crazy pranks and antics. Then there are the puns – my favourites being the Mama Llama and her secret operation, Seen not Herd – and the dialogue’s really funny too.
The humour makes the book extremely accessible as do the short chapters and the highly entertaining illustrations, many of which are in comic strip format.
Another huge part of the appeal of Llama on a Mission is that it puts a diverse family at the forefront of the story. This year I’ve been striving to make my class library more representative of the children I teach (most of my class are of Pakistani Muslim heritage). I’ve been reading Llama on a Mission in class and when I read the blurb, one child noticed how he shared his surname with the main character. I know that my class will see themselves in this book – the extended family living together under one roof, the various cultural reference points and so on – and representation like this is so important.
The book has strong themes of friendship and loyalty and it also explores issues around self-confidence, assertiveness and communication. Yasmin might have found her voice and begun speaking again (after being a selective mute for seven years) but she’s still got a thing or two to learn about communicating.
Suitable for children aged 6+
Thank you to Farshore for sending me this book to review.