SUNNYSIDE — An animated story time program and preschool pajama party, featuring the popular children’s book character and cartoon personality Llama Llama was hosted by the Sunnyside Community Library last Friday morning.

More than 30 kids gathered in the special section area, where reading aloud programs and comprehensive engagement activities bring stories to life.

They sat crisscross-applesauce on the floor and practiced using their inside voices, prior to taking part in the reading of two Llama Llama stories, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney.

“I think it’s a really fun way for the kids to kind of get excited about books and meet their favorite book or literary celebrities, and it shows them that the library is more than just books,” Yakima Valley Programming and Marketing Librarian Krystal Corbray explained.

Llama Llama is a little boy who loves his Mama and is sometimes frightened by new things. He likes to play all kinds of games with his friends, and he carries his stuffed animal, Fuzzy dolly llama, everywhere he goes.

The aspiring readers were excited to listen and share in the story telling efforts with Heather Campbell, Yakima Central Library Assistant Branch Manager and Community Library Supervisor Marcelina Ortega as they read the first book, “Gram and Grandpa.”

Ortega, who has been reading aloud to children for 30 years, had never read one of Dewdney’s books until now.

The first story was about Llama Llama going to visit his Gram and Grandpa Llama and spending the night — his first night away from home…and from Mama.

The youthful adventure resonated soundly with the enthusiastic audience as they expressed their own candid insights with every turn of the colorful page.

Following the story, the active audience was instructed to stand up and quietly voice the toddler rhyme, “Five Little Llamas Jumping on the Bed.”

And, then it was time to wake up the larger than life children’s character Llama Llama with the song, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

The special guest star was escorted to the front of the area where enthusiastic youngsters stood next to the orange tape on the carpet and welcomed him with big smiles for the reading of the second story, “Red Pajama.”

After story time was over, kids went to go make Llama Llama arts and crafts.

They could also have their photo taken with him and were provided a picture as a party gift to take home.

“I try to be intentional about making sure they read and have a love for books,” Anthony Peterson expressed, as he gave his daughters Sofiya and Sanai high-fives for their artwork. “I think it’s very important for children to know about books and reading grows their minds.”

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