Llama Llama and the Bully Goat

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat Book Poster Image
School bully tale great for showing kids how to respond.

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Kids say

age 2+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids learn the sounds different animals make ("Sheep goes baa and calf goes moo.") and the basic routines of preschool and kindergarten, from drawing and counting to sing-alongs, circle time, and recess. Most important, they learn that bullying is not OK.

Positive Messages

Calling names, making fun of others, being mean and pushing are not allowed in school or on the playground. If you act that way others won't want to play with you. If you play nicely, others will want to play with you and be your friend. If someone bullies you, walk away and tell someone, like your teacher. People can learn from their mistakes and change negative behavior. The emphasis is on showing what kids should do if bullied, and how a disciplined bully can can change for the better (after a time-out and learning how to respect and get along with others). 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu play nicely together, and when they get bullied, they do the right thing: walk away and tell their teacher. When the teacher suggests they try playing with Gilroy again, they are open to it and are able to become friends with him, seeing he's changed.

Violence & Scariness

Gilroy calls others names, insults them, tosses toys and sticks, kicks sand on Llama, throws dirt at Nelly and pushes her in the sand box.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Llama Llama and the Bully Goat is another picture book in the bestselling series about Llama Llama and his young animal friends of all kinds, who seem like stand-ins for average preschoolers. Llama often has trouble sharing or feels needy or jealous. But in this book, he and his friend Nelly Gnu are models of good behavior, especially in contrast to Gilroy Goat, who bullies kids at school. The message comes through loud and clear: Calling names and being mean is not OK. And if you get bullied, walk away and tell someone. There's also a message that bullies can change their behavior and learn to play nice, and kids who were bullied can forgive and befriend a former bully.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat November 5, 2020

What's the story?

Gilroy Goat spends the morning at school making fun of others, calling names, being mean, and at recess he kicks dirt and sand on Llama and pushes Nelly in the sandbox. Llama tells him, "Gilroy, this is not OK. Stop it, or we'll go away." He and Nelly do walk away and tell the teacher, who gives Gilroy a time-out. The second half of the book shows Gilroy learing from his mistake, learning how to play nicely with others and become their friend.

Is it any good?

LLAMA LLAMA AND THE BULLY GOAT offers a realistic preschool or kindergarten scenario and, with a pretty light touch, shows what to do if you get bullied: Walk away and tell someone. It also shows that even bullies can change and learn to get along with others. The popular Llama Llama character, who isn't always perfectly behaved himself, is a perfect choice to deliver this positive message to kids. (Though in real life, kids may not find the turnaround as fast or easy as it is here.)

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to respond to a bully. What steps should you take right away if you get bullied?

  • The Llama Llama books are very popular. Why do you think that is?

  • How do the pictures help tell the story? What's different about the animals' faces after the goat stops being a bully?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and standing up to bullies

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