Alpacas with Maracas for National Simultaneous Storytime

The most sought-after Canberra celebrities this week haven't been any politician (or would-be politician) - they've been Paprika and Hercules, the alpacas.

Nils Lantzke, of Giralang, reading Alpacas with Maracas with Hercules (back) and Paprika, ahead of National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday. Picture: Megan Doherty

Nils Lantzke, of Giralang, reading Alpacas with Maracas with Hercules (back) and Paprika, ahead of National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday. Picture: Megan Doherty

On Wednesday, it is National Simultaneous Storytime, when kids around the nation read the same book at the same time, to promote the sheer joy of reading.

Each year, one picture book is selected for the simultaneous read-aloud event held in libraries, schools, preschools, family homes, childcare centres, bookshops, children's hospitals and communities across Australia and New Zealand, where two nations read together as one.

This year, the chosen book is Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove.

Cue the avalanche of requests to Canberra's Nils Lantzke, from Alpaca Therapy, to bring his alpacas, Hercules and Paprika, to the storytime.

Alpacas with Maracas will be read by kids around the nation on Wednesday.

Alpacas with Maracas will be read by kids around the nation on Wednesday.

He's been asked by everyone from the Governor-General to the National Library to local schools.

As much as Nils heartily supports National Simultaneous Storytime and would love to meet every request, he says the alpacas probably wouldn't cope with being confronted with a heap of excited kids.

He says they will keep focused on visits to the local hospice, mental health unit and to housebound patients, sharing their gentle spirit.

Author and illustrator Matt Cosgrove reads his book Alpacas with Maracas ... with some alpacas. Picture: Supplied

Author and illustrator Matt Cosgrove reads his book Alpacas with Maracas ... with some alpacas. Picture: Supplied

National Simultaneous Storytime, run by the Australian Library and Information, will be held at 11am on Wednesday.

Matt Cosgrove was understandably thrilled to have his book chosen for the event.

"I can't believe over one million kids across Australia and New Zealand will all be reading my book for National Simultaneous Storytime," he said.

"It's an absolute honour and so exciting. I hope everyone has a blast reading Alpacas With Maracas."