Alpacas with maracas by Matt Cosgrove

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743816349
(Ages: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Alpacas. Verse. Rhyme. Read aloud. We met Macca the alpaca in a book of the same name, where he had to deal with a bully, Al the shaggy alpaca. Now Al and Macca are the best of friends, and have decided to enter a competition, a talent quest.
But what to do. Everything they try seems to end in tears: Al gets his head stuck in the harp strings, and his nails break the top of the drums, while Macca finds the noise of the symbols a little overwhelming. They try out a rock band but everyone else wants them to stop. They keep on trying lots of other pieces of musical instruments as well as stage acts like a choir and a dance sequence with little success. The readers will be highly entertained seeing their antics, and breath a sigh of relief when they find something they can play together with some dexterity, the maracas. The pages following are a delight, showing the two alpacas playing the maracas as if they were born to do it. They wriggle their bottoms in time with the beat, play around on the stage and eventually win a prize. Not quite the prize the reading audience will think they deserve, but one which rhymes with blast. The rhyming couplets carry the story, inviting young readers to predict the rhyming word, and learn some of the pairs of lines as they read.
The laughter filled pages invite further inspection by the readers as the vibrant, colourful spreads reflect a variety of movements, music and fun. A great read aloud.
Fran Knight