Let's be honest here. There are times, when helping a seven-year-old practice her reading, that you just long for the book to be over. It can be a long, slow ordeal with more than a few mix-ups on the way to the last page, and a sigh of relief when you finally arrive at the end.
Not so with Harley, Star Livingstone's tribute to a llama in eastern Massachusetts with a knack for shepherding and a mind of his own. Livingstone's simple sentences and vocabulary knit together a series of episodes in the life of Harley the guard llama--from chasing off coyotes to making friends with a gristley old ram--that has one wishing for a sequel.
If a Grade Two reader takes her time with Harley, it's for good reason, Molly Bang's illustrations of long-lashed Harley, and the gentle sheep he guards are lovely to look at and breath contentment into a story of a once ornery animal who finds his true calling and his rightful place in the farm field.