Macca the alpaca by Matt Cosgrove
Koala Books, 2018. ISBN 9781743816332
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Bullying. Alpacas. Llamas. South America. Against a bright blue background, the white alpaca, Macca, stares out at the audience. Children will at once be able to distinguish his features, and see the differences between him and other animals they have come across. The chirpy look on his face gives a clue to the sort of animal he is. Turning the pages we see him gamboling around with other animals, butterflies, a sloth, jaguar cubs, monkeys and an armadillo, that is until he meets the llama. Harmer the llama is a bully, and does some despicable things to Macca, until they decide to a challenge to see who is the best. Each test reveals some of the characteristics of each animal, but it is the alpaca who comes out on top, using his skills to outshine the llama.
Readers will laugh out loud at the antics of these two, taking in their traits as they spar with each other, climbing a tree, climbing a mountain and moving a huge boulder.
The bright clear illustrations will delight younger readers, and the moral of the tale will have a resonance for all children who read the book. In classrooms this may be one of the books read out loud to initiate discussions about bullying and its appearance in the school, and who could resist launching into discussions about South America and its wildlife. And worth mentioning, the endpapaers showcase a little of the human activity of South America.