Meerkat choir by Nicki Greenberg
Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760290795
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Meerkats. Choirs. Community. The choirmaster insists that only meerkats can be part of his choir, but he finds that this is harder than he thinks. The choir is all set to begin their practice when a tortoise asks to join in. He is told that this is a meerkat choir and so the tortoise leaves. Again with baton raised the choirmaster attempts to restart. This time a hedgehog asks to join and is told to go. Then an owl, a snake, a bat and a giraffe come asking to join. Each time the harassed choirmaster tells them no. He changes his notice to say the choir is full, but then a crocodile appears.
When the crocodile goes away the choir is at last ready, but the sound that comes from their mouths is so awful, that the choirmaster calls a halt. He takes his baton and his sign and leaves the meerkats. The choir hears some beautiful sounds coming from elsewhere and move off to see where it is coming from.
And join in.
This beautiful story of strength in numbers, of not being exclusive, of the joy in being together, will be loved by all who read it. The meerkats with their elongated bodies and surprised eyes are a delight and younger readers will be intrigued by the animals and their dilemma, because it parallels some of the interaction which goes on in their lives.
Greenberg's bold and lively illustrations will be especially endearing to the younger readers, able to recognise the animals and perhaps talk about where they can be found.