Review – The Family Hour in Australia

Just loving the gorgeously retro illustrations in this book that send one winging back to the 1970s. Author/illustrator Tai Snaith has created a timeless peek into the typical Aussie family life . . . of our native fauna.

The sun has risen and a colourful Gouldian family gobble their breakfast. On a nearby branch, retro canisters are lined-up and labelled – Flies, Snails, Bugs and Ticks. Baby numbats take a ride on mum’s back, flicking out sticky tongues to catch a snatch of termites.

In the supermarket, a roo and her joeys snaffle Joey Juice and Kangamite from the shelves while a puggle slurps pink milk and baby cygnets cuddle into baby-bjorn style pouches on their parents’ fronts. Tassie Tigers don thrash metal tshirts and play the drums in the garage, and wombats snuggle in to watch tele under stripy blankets.

I love the kooky, totally disjointed nature of this book – it’s pure fantasy and the illustrations are a joy to wander through, however, in a purist sense, the blending of animal fact, highly-imaginative fiction and quirky illustrations are a little fractious at times – mostly in terms of the voice the author uses. It would have perhaps been more effective had she used language as original and fun as the book’s overall concept.

Hidden clocks denote time as the story unfolds – from early morning to late at night, and Family Facts at the end of the book expound on a series of animal facts. A great book for schools and libraries.

The Family Hour is published by Thames & Hudson.

Published by

Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an author of children's books and adult non-fiction. Recent books include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne, and Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline. She's also an editor, publisher and founder of Kids Book Review.