The Reading Hour will be taking place around Australia between 6 and 7 p.m. on Saturday 25 August. The aim of The Reading Hour is to promote to parents the importance of regularly sharing a book with their children, by encouraging them to read with their children for 10 minutes each day.
‘If you can manage 10 minutes most nights, your child will have the best chance of becoming a good reader, with all the social and educational benefits that brings. Most of our brain development happens between birth and three years of age, so it’s not enough to assume that your children will learn to read when they get to school.’
Although the official Reading Hour will take place between 6pm to 7pm, events will be happening all day:
- Contact your local libraries and bookstores to find out what events and activities are taking place near you.
- Plan your own community or intimate family event
How can you make this reading hour special or unique for your kids? Some ideas:
- Read some ‘new-to-you’ books (I’ve found the perfect book to read for this occasion. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see what my family will be reading this Saturday)
- Invite some friends to join your family in a special pyjama story-time.
- Set up a special place to read your books
- Make and eat some special bookish snacks. (Get some brilliant ideas here)
- Play some bookish games
Book Review: THE FAMILY HOUR IN AUSTRALIA by Tai Snaith
Tai Snaith’s first book for children takes on a unique format. It can best be described as a wildlife documentary meets picture book. This children’s ‘bookumentary’ is quirky, cool, interesting, informative and entertaining.
The opening pages feature two children sitting in front of an old television set (the type that requires dials to be manually turned in order to change the channel). ‘The Family Hour in Australia’ is about to begin, and the children will learn some interesting information about 15 Australian animal families- and not all of them can be described as nuclear.
The Family Hour in Australia spans a 22 hour period which begins at 7 a.m., with the Gouldian finch family eating breakfast, and finishing at 5a.m. when the wombat family goes to bed. It tracks the activities of 15 Australian animal families throughout the day, where koalas are still sleeping at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and Tasmanian devils are playing at midnight.
As well as an interesting text, the back of the book features a ‘Family Facts’ section. Readers can learn more detailed information about each of the animals including their conservation status. You might find yourself amazed by what you learn. Did you know that platypus swim with their eyes closed; echidnas drink pink milk; numbats can have their own babies when they are one year old: quoll mums have six nipples; newborn kangaroos weigh only as much as a paperclip?
Tai’s artistic C.V. is phenomenal, and this shows in her watercolour illustrations. While the text is factual, the illustrations are very playful, witty and entertaining: kangaroos are shopping for Kangamite and Joey Juice, swan dads are carrying their cygnets in Baby Bjorns, echidnas are slurping pink milk through a straw and sea dragon dads are carrying cartons of dragon eggs in eco-friendly shopping bags.
There is a lot to absorb on each page. Featuring a vintage television, retro canister set, lava lamp, egg chairs and a drive-in, Tai’s illustrations will take families back to bygone eras, which will surely spark some interesting discussions. A favourite feature for children is sure to be the clock to be found in each illustration, which shows the time of the day being described. Then, there are also the endpapers, which feature funny Polaroid pics of the animal families.
Reading The Family Hour in Australia truly is an interesting and quirky way to learn about our native animals, and will help children to understand that the natural world is made up of all sorts of families.
Title: The Family Hour in Australia
Author: Tai Snaith
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, July 2012
Suitable for ages: 3+
My Little Bookcase would like to thank Thames & Hudson Australia for a review copy of this tremendous book .