Little Meerkat by Aleesah Darlison
Ill. by Shannon Melville. Wombat Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921632822.
(Age: Pre-school - 6) Recommended. Little Meerkat did not like cuddles. In fact he thought that he was a heroic hunter and should be out hunting with the older animals, slinking through the grass and evading capture. Of course he is safe when his large extended family is there to protect him when he makes his dangerous and adventurous forays outside the burrow.
Darlison has chosen the meerkat, such a cute animal that people are fascinated with, to show the reader the dangers of being too adventurous. Young readers will be able to identify with Little Meerkat as he pursues his craving for independence, and will be able to come up with occasions in their own lives when they are too young or inexperienced to be able to do what their older siblings or the adults in their lives can do.
Shannon Melville's illustrations are wonderful, and really extend the appeal of the picture book. The pictures of the wide-eyed, cute meerkats, the little puffs of dust as the meerkats race to rescue Little Meerkat, and the enormous feathers of the eagle as it tries to pounce on Little Meerkat are very attractive and are sure to gain the attention of the reader.
This is a humorous story that parents and teachers could use to show that some things can be dangerous. Most of all it is a fun story to read.