The Time of Your Life by Tanya Batt
Ben has two wishes – that he has more time, and that he is a little taller. People are always running out of time, short of time or don’t have time to spare.
When Ben receives a new watch for his birthday he now has all the time in the world. On closer examination though, a small button on the back of the watch transports him to meet Father Time who explains the nature of time.
He explains to Ben that some people like to live in the past, with their memories, and some people live in the future, eagerly imagining what lies ahead. But the best gift you can give someone is your time and attention, now. That’s why it is called the present.
The story, something of a fantasy, is a new take on the hot theme of the moment – mindfulness. Author Tanya Batt uses the book to stress the importance of appreciating the here and now.
There is a deep sophisticated message within the story, which may pass some children by. However, with questioning and support, even the youngest reader will appreciate it. Adult readers will find themselves reflecting on their own appreciation and knowledge of time, and particularly about how rushing through our days affects our children.
The book also includes a link to download a recording of Batt reading the story. She is a professional storyteller, and the audio link is a wonderful touch. Batt really brings the story to life and it is always interesting hearing an author tell their own story.
Illustrator Bruce Potter is one of New Zealand’s most well-known illustrators. His illustrations for The Time Of Your Life are rich in detail. At times they are both whimsical and realistic, adding to the fantasy theme.
Batt has left the door open for another book around the same theme – with Ben being told by Father Time that to be made taller he must talk to Mother Nature.
This is an interesting and thought-provoking story that will help children understand and appreciate their world. With multiple readings the message of mindfulness will sink in deeply, for both children and adults.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
OneTree House, RRP $30.00