The Switching Hour is about Amaya, who lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tau in a land suffering a terrible drought. Every night, the doors must be locked at twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badoko, a creature that snatches children away to eat their dreams. Those left behind are left with The Sorrow Sickness, which takes away the memory of those gone, leaving them with lifelong grief that they don’t understand as the memory has been taken. When Badoko takes Kaleb, Amaya heads into the forest to find her brother before she forgets him. This is where the adventure for her begins, and we see the friendship between her and Mally unfold, who she meets and joins her to help find her brother.
This is a mesmerising story that I couldn’t put down, and it is storytelling at its best. Damaris Young tells it so vividly and beautifully that you can feel and sense the tension and fear Amaya experiences as she searches for her brother. There is also another sadness beneath the main story, as Amaya has lost her mother, and we feel her grief throughout.
This is also a story that has climate change as a core theme. It is a very relevant book to share and read aloud with children, not only because the story is captivating but for the opportunities to discuss the climate issues that are affecting the planet.
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