Local artist Tai Snaith’s latest creation The Family Hour in Australia is not your ordinary children’s picture book. For her first book, the prolific Snaith has cleverly weaved themes of family diversity, scientific facts and even references to mid-century modern designs.
The book is filled with Snaith’s signature vibrant watercolour illustrations and features some less well-known native Australian animals like gauldian finches, numbats and sugar gliders. The illustrations speak of Snaith’s imagination and humour, with a kangaroo family purchasing ‘Kangamite’ from a species-adjusted supermarket aisle.
The book uses the animal families to represent all different types of family circumstances. There are single mums and single dads, extended mixed families, and same sex parents, depicted by two male swans donning baby pouches.
What sets this book apart from its more classical children’s illustration book predecessors is the inclusion of mid-century and contemporary furniture. On the cover is a Featherstone couch, there’s an Eames clock in a corroboree frog’s living room, as well as Arne Jacobsens’ egg chairs. These are some stylish native Australian families.