Is Your Mama a Llama? Discussion Guide
In Is Your Mama a Llama?, a baby llama is the star of this series of rhymed riddles about animal characteristics. As Lloyd the llama meets each animal friend, the friend describes its mama. The riddle has a moment of suspense just before the name of the animal is revealed. Children will enjoy chiming in at these key points and moving the story along. Through the riddles and pictures, children meet babies and mamas who are bats, swans, cows, seals, kangaroos, and, of course, llamas. In details from the pictures, children can also spot baby and mother owls, seagulls, turtles, rabbits, koala bears and opossums.
- Children will guess rhymed words and the solutions to riddles.
- Children will identify animals as both infants and adults.
Before Reading Activities
Show students the cover of the book, and ask them to discuss the title and art. Have them identify which animal on the cover is the llama, and find the mama and baby in the picture (the owl). Alert children to be on the lookout for mama animals and baby animals as they enjoy the story. Also alert them that the story will ask them to supply some of the rhymes. Add an extra play element to the reading by asking children to wait for your signal before saying the rhymes out loud.
After Reading Activities
Go back over the story, riddle by riddle. Have children make a chalkboard list of all the animals and babies they discovered.
Connect the story to science by introducing the word "characteristics" and re-reading the characteristics that were listed in the riddles. Encourage children to describe the characteristics of other animals that they saw in the book. Ask them to identify one characteristic all the baby animals have in common (they are smaller than their parents). Make chalkboard lists of the animal characteristics, and compare which animals have similar characteristics, such as fur, feathers, four feet and two feet.
Connect the story to science and writing by encouraging children to invent their own rhyming riddles about animal characteristics.
Connect the story to art by encouraging children to draw pictures of their favorite animal babies.
Connect the story to math by going back over the book and counting all the sets of animals. Encourage children to create story problems based on the pictures. For example, if there are 3 rabbits, 2 swans, 1 llama and one calf, how many animals are there in all?
Video programs about animals available from Weston Woods include:
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino, ill. by Steven Kellogg
Antarctic Antics by Judy Sierra, ill. by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, ill. by Jane Chapman
Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson, ill. by Jane Chapman
Goose by Molly Bang
In The Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
I, Crocodile by Fred Marcellino
Possum Magic by Mem Fox, ill. by Julie Vivas
Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins
The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, adapted and ill. by Jerry Pinkney
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Copyright 2008 Weston Woods.
Deborah Guarino is best known to children as the author of the best-selling, critically acclaimed Is Your Mama a Llama?, a story which came to her during a visit to the zoo with her son, Josh.
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