About the Holiday
The purpose of today’s holiday is simple—to fully appreciate the family one has, whether it is small or large, whether members live close together or far apart. The founders of Family Day, which is celebrated on different dates around the world, wanted people to relax their busy schedules and spend time with those they love in a meaningful and fun way. This year we may be spending more time with family than usual, which has led to some thoughtful, creative, and fun ways to pass the time. To honor today’s holiday, let your family members know how much they mean to you.
What is a Family?
Written by Annette Griffin | Illustrated by Nichola Cowdery
Early in life, little ones—loved by mom and dad, two moms, or two dads and perhaps siblings; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins; and other extended family members—discover that all of these people are their family. But they may wonder: what does that word really mean? As kids play with their pets, visit zoos and aquariums, and read about animals, they may also wonder if animals have families. What is a Family? answers these questions with bouncy rhymes that introduce children to an alphabetic variety of animals and the scientific names of their groups. But first, it answers that most important question and reveals that “Families are groups / that take care of their own. / They all stick together / to help make a home.”
At A,B, and C kids learn that “Ants have a colony. / Bats have a cloud. / Chickens have peeps / where they can get loud.” The names of many family groups seem perfectly fitting for the animals’ personalities or traits. Take these at M,N, and O, for instance: “Mice have their mischiefs, / and narwhals, a blessing. / Oysters have beds— / not for sleeping, I’m guessing.”
Little ones will love and take pride in learning about unusual animals, like quail, umbrellabirds, and xerus as well as the clever names for their family groups in Annette Griffin’s charming verses that provide a smattering of behavioral facts about the animals along the way. Griffin ends her story with this snug reassurance: “…families are special, / though not all the same. / It’s the caring and sharing / that gives them the name” that can lead adults and children to discuss the variety of families, cultures, and traditions that make up our world.
Nichola Cowdery populates this nicely sized, soft-covered board book with adorable birds, fish, reptiles, and forest, jungle, and plains animals set in their realistic habitats. Her vibrant colors and whimsical details will captivate young readers. Little ones will also be drawn to the images of the ways in which babies and adult animals interact. There’s plenty here to set little learners giggling too, which enhances the reading experience.
Sure to be a family favorite for story time and bedtime, What is a Family? would be an endearing and educational book to add to home, classroom, and public library collections.
Ages 1 – 5
Familius, 2020 | ISBN 978-1641702447
Discover more about Annette Griffin and her books on her website.
To learn more about Nichola Cowdery, her books, and her art, visit her website.
National Family Day Activity
Match Up the Animals! Game
Match up animal family members in this fun printable game that tests your powers of memory!
- Printable Match Up the Animals! Cards
- Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
- Print the Animal Pairs Cards, print two pages to have double cards. To make the game more difficult print 3 or more pages to find 3 or more groups of matching animals
- Color the cards
- Cut out the cards
- Lay the cards face down on a table in random order
- Turn over cards to look for matching pairs
- When you find a matching pair leave the cards face up
- Continue playing until you find all the matching animal pairs or groups
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