Monday, 9 June 2014

Little Meerkat

Little Meerkat by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Shannon Melville (Wombat Books)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-921632-82-2
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Little Meerkat is only tiny but not in his mind.  He sees himself as the most heroic hunter, the stealthiest scout, the most fearless warrior and certainly not someone that needs to be protected by his family.  Until one day when he finds himself confronted by a hungry snake.  Then he learns the importance of a loving and watchful family.

Little Meerkat is a playful and lively book about a young meerkat who refuses to believe he is anything less than what he imagines himself to be.  His daydreams and misadventures bring humour to the story and will appeal to any young person desperate to grow up.  The constant message throughout the book is that Little Meerkat needs to understand and accept that he is not capable of everything he imagines he is, yet.  He must accept that at this stage of his life, he needs the guidance and protection of his family.

         Little Meerkat did not like holding paws.
‘Holding paws is for babies.  I am not a baby.  I am a silent, stealthy scout.’
‘One day you may be a silent, stealthy scout,’ Aunty said.  ‘For now, you are a baby and you must stay with an adult.’

Little Meerkat learns this lesson when he is confronted by a snake who wants to eat him.  The quick response of his family not only saves his life but also teaches him that maybe he’s not quite ready to be without his family.

Shannon Melville’s illustrations bring a richness to the book.  They are big and colourful, bringing to life the world of Little Meerkat.  There is a certain amount of realism in Shannon’s style but, at the same time, the fun and personality of Little Meerkat and his imaginings are also well presented.

Little Meerkat would be an excellent read-aloud book for pre-school or early primary children.  However, with such beautiful illustrations it would also be the sort of book a young child would enjoy leafing through on their own.

Aleesah Darlison has published several chapter books, picture books and novels for children.  Her titles include: Bearly There, Puggle’s Problem, Fangs and Totally Twins.  She also works as a book reviewer for The Sun Herald.  When she isn’t working on her next book, Aleesah is usually chasing after her three energetic children and her two dogs.  She can be found online at:  http://www.aleesahdarlison.com/


Shannon Melville is an illustrator and artist based in Perth. Some of the titles she has illustrated are My Arms Your Legs, Matilda’s Morning Adventures and Little Good Wolf.  When she is not working, Shannon likes going for walks with her husband and family.  She can be found online at:  http://shannonmelville.com.au/

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