Heard on the Hill: Congressional Story Time — Spare the Llama, Spoil the Kids

Posted October 3, 2011 at 6:13pm

Preschoolers are expected to blanket the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday morning for a potentially record-breaking story time designed to raise awareness about the issue of child literacy.

The rub: The featured book is not universally adored.

During the event, hosted by Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, parents, kids and participating Members of Congress will be asked to read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, a rhyming tale regarding an insomniac llama waylaid by some serious separation anxiety come bedtime.

A quick search on Amazon returned mostly glowing reviews from parents and educators who wholly endorse the tale’s “learn to be patient” message. But a handful of detractors argue otherwise, suggesting the llama mom’s dismissive behavior borders on neglect.

At least one nonbeliever groused that the book sets a terrible precedent. “My son, 3.5, decided that he should mimic baby llama, and just laid in his bed, yelling ‘mama mama’ all night after reading the book. Not funny. Not cute. Not in my house,” she warns in an online critique.

Perhaps the llama chronicles would be less harrowing/traumatic if delivered in the soothing cadence of say someone like, oh I don’t know, Samuel L. Jackson? He seems to be big on kid’s books this year. …