35. Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang

Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

2001, SeaStar Books, 64 pgs

Ages: (6+)

"Harley is a young llama who lives on a ranch. He is learning to be a pack animal, but he is having a hard time. He kicks. He screams. He spits! But then a shepherd calls; she needs a llama to watch over her sheep. She decides to take a chance on Harley. Through the seasons, a series of challenges both great and small turn the temperamental llama into a loving leader whether he's facing mischievous lambs, a bullying ram, or a pack of coyotes who prey on the sheep. With its poetic language and captivating artwork by Caldecott Honour-winning Molly Bang, this distinctive book speaks to all those who sometimes march to the beat of a different drummer.."

Purchased a secondhand copy from a book sale.

Molly Bang is a Caldecott Award-winning author and her illustrations in this unique easy reader are absolutely beautiful.  Star Livingstone actually camped out in a tipi in eastern Massachusetts to observe Harley and his sheep while she wrote this book based on real-life events.  This is such a beautiful easy reader I was just charmed by it!  A lovely tale of a sheep ranch owned by a female shepherd who buys a guard lama to protect her sheep after they are attacked by coyotes in the night.  The story then goes on to describe the life of the llama (and the sheep, the ram, a herd dog) as they go about their day to day routines and the special bond that is formed between Harvey and the sheep as he quickly becomes their protector.  Such a unique story!  This is an easy reader, suitable for very beginner readers so the text is simple and all the sentences are subject/verb format.  It is not easy to write in this simple style and still tell an engaging story.  I ended up being entirely smitten with Harley, and the ram!  I'm going to keep this book for my collection.


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