Review | Wednesday 20 June 2012
There are so many delicious elements to this new Australian picture book that it’s hard to know where to begin.
Perhaps with the gorgeous native animals engaging in typical behaviours, the stylish references to retro furniture and design, but also the unusual facts (did you know a baby echidna is called a puggle and drinks pink milk until it can eat ants?), the clock to be discovered on every page, and finally, the matte cover and thick pages that complete this gorgeous book.
Tai Snaith is a writer, curator and artist with an impressive CV. Her drawing style is realistic but with a quirky, stylised edge and her animals look very authentic while also anthropomorphised to appeal to young children. The story follows families on a regular day, beginning with the Gouldian finch family eating breakfast, termites for morning tea with the baby numbats, and so on, through to the hairy-nosed wombats, which awaken just as the rest of the world is going to bed.
Various family units are represented from same sex parents and single mums, to multiple families living together. Some pages have simple bold lines, whereas others are filled with intricate detail and these in particular invite poring over by curious children. Many of the animals are endangered and all of the unusual anecdotes are true, which provides a fascinating educational experience for both parent and child.
In every way, The Family Hour in Australia is an absolute delight to be enjoyed time and time again.
The Family Hour is now out in hardback ($24.95).
Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings St Kilda, mother to a three year-old, and the author of two books on sustainable living, A Lighter Footprint: A Practical Guide to Minimising your Impact on the Planet and Ethical Eating.