For many years, I’ve had a particular pressure at Christmas – to find gifts for friends overseas that are distinctly ‘Australian’ but not too twee. It’s harder than it sounds! The kids will be taken care of this year with this gorgeous new book.
The Family Hour by Tai Snaith is chock-full of Australian animals and charming details.The story follows all different kinds of Australian ‘families’ during the course of one day and is interspersed with interesting animal facts and subtle nods to retro furnishings. That may sound like an odd combination but it works beautifully. For example, the possums have their bugs stored in fabulous Bakelite canisters and the Corroboree frogs sipping martinis are the definition of cool.
This is one of those books that kids will want to read over and over, each time finding something different on the page. Follow the progression of the day by looking for the clock in each picture or marvel at the amazing animal facts dotted throughout the story. For example, I assumed that Snaith had taken a little creative license by saying that baby echidnas (called puggles) drink pink milk. While puggles might not drink through a straw, they do in fact drink ‘pink milk’ – they’re born with a low red blood count and the mother echidna supplements her puggle by producing extra haemoglobin in their milk, turning it pink!
Pleasingly, the families depicted go beyond the nuclear family arrangement. Instead, there’s single parent families, same sex parents (see the illustration of the black swans below, complete with their cygnets in Baby Bjorns!) and extended families living together (such as the gorgeous sugar gliders).
Find The Family Hour online at Tai Snaith’s Etsy store or at selected bookshops.