3 out of 4 stars
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Lua the Llama and the Mountain of Joy is a children’s book written by Alison Birks and illustrated by Linda Weston. It is suitable for children of all ages, but seems most appropriate for ages 5-8. Lua is a young llama who lives in the Andes Mountains in Peru. One night she has a dream in which a rainbow-colored llama tells her she is much more than just a llama. Lua asks her parents what this means, and they advise her to visit a wise, old healer named don Paqo to get some answers.
I enjoyed this short, inspiring book. Children will be able to learn about universal lessons passed down from the Andean people, such as love, balance, wisdom, and service. I think it’s important for children to learn about different cultures and this story is a fun way to become familiar with Andean teachings. The themes of being part of something larger than your individual self and being connected with the universe are explained in an easy-to-understand way.
Numerous Andean words are used throughout the story. The author has included a helpful glossary at the end of the book. However, young readers might still find it frustrating to stop and look up so many unfamiliar words while reading.
Linda Weston’s colorful illustrations are beautiful and strike a soft tone for this spiritual story. One minor gripe I have is there are not enough pictures and many of them are very small. There will often be a few pages between illustrations; in one case, there are five pages of text before the next picture appears. I think it would have been helpful to include more illustrations to enhance the story and give young readers extra visual clues.
I spotted approximately four errors, including missing punctuation at the end of dialogue and a word that is capitalized in the middle of a sentence. The errors are fairly noticeable, particularly in such a short book. I think it’s especially important for children’s books to be carefully edited so that kids are shown examples of correct grammar. Also, the text is center-justified which is a little distracting. Although this style is a matter of taste, I found the text harder to follow in this format.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The errors prevent me from awarding the highest rating. Still, it’s always a plus when a children’s book can educate as well as entertain. This story would be a perfect choice for storytime at school as it can jump-start a discussion about other cultures.
Lua the Llama and the Mountain of Joy
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