Every parent who raised kids over the last decade probably recognizes the picture book, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. Baby Llama, who enjoys red bedtime wear, deals with a lot of emotions through the series of books that bear his name. His poor mom deals with plenty along the way, too!
In case you haven’t read it, here’s a video of Anna Dewdney reading the book aloud.
The beauty of picture books like this one is the rhythm created by the words and composition. They are easy to read and enjoyable to listen to.
J Cruz, an Los Angeles-based DJ who heads the Cruz show on Power 106, came up with a creative way to celebrate this wonderful book. Inspired by the birth of his son, Cruz asked musicians who came on his show to freestyle the words of Llama Llama Red Pajama off the cuff. The results are fabulous! Each artist tackled the challenge in his own way and created an original piece of music.
My son, who loves music with a distinct beat, plays these songs over and over again. He’s even started to rap himself. And I don’t have to worry about content that’s too mature for little kids. I’ve read him that book at least a hundred times!
One of our family’s favorite versions is Kid Ink’s rendition. He is also one of the only artists to get through the entire text.
Lecrea’s sound is definitely different but I can’t hear it without smiling. You just get the feeling that he is having a good time with it. And he gets bonus points for ending with his own “llama” rhyme.
Ludacris’s version of the book is another one of our favorites. I challenge you to listen and not tap a foot or nod your head to the beat! I also love that he tapers off when he realizes he’s headed to an “adult” version.
Finally, to show just how different each version can be, D.R.A.M. delivers a whole new sound over the beat to his hit song, Broccoli.
Whatever style suits you, I hope you enjoy a kid-friendly tour of music that doesn’t usually cater to the under five set. Who knows, the mix of a beloved children’s book and cutting edge talent could inspire the next break out musical artist!