For those whose neighbourhood calm is often
shattered, whose heads are occasionally clobbered with plummeting missiles, and
whose picnic victuals are frequently raided, this book is for you.
Gang On Our Street? by Susanne
Gervay and Nancy Bevington attempts to answer the conundrum of exactly who
is responsible for this cacophony of cheeky chaos?
It’s a joyful new picture book that explores a
typical suburban cul-de-sac (I got Neighbour’s vibes but it could be a location
found in any Australian city) and the gang of troublemakers that co-exist
alongside a troop of neighbourhood kids.
Said eclectic group of friends have their own garage
band, coincidentally named ‘The Gang’ and share busy days together kicking
around soccer balls, racing billycarts, and sharing sweet delights. Typical
run-wild, spirit-filled kid play. But this new ‘gang’ has them bamboozled. Who
is it that is challenging their funky-punky urge to play and scream with glee?
Gervay’s narrative is a delightful answer-the-riddle-set
up with teasing inquisitive lines that jiggle and dance across the pages to a
backdrop Bevington’s colourful images. Each spread makes a comparative
statement that invites readers to ‘look and search’ for the answer. Hints are
secreted in each and every spread, giving readers, young and old alike, plenty
of ooh and ahh, giggly moments.
The result is a riot of fun. And the answer to this
mystery? Well, it’s a squawky, gorgeous final full spread reveal that invites
even more delight. Not only does this
picture book celebrate one of Australia’s best known but maybe under-appreciated
native birds, the good old Sulphie, better known as the Sulphur Crested
Cockatoo, it cleverly draws playful parallels between rumbustious pre and
primary schoolers and cheeky cockies. These comparisons elicit joie de vie
whilst embedding a deeper understanding and appreciation for this very intelligent
species of bird. A fully illustrated Fun Facts page explains and then tests new
knowledge at the end of the book rounding off an informative yet entertaining
Picture book homage has been paid to other less well
understood birds including the much-maligned Bin Chicken aka Straw Necked Ibis
so it’s a welcome relief to see the raucous Sulphie showcased so enthusiastically.
Who’s The Gang On Our Street? is a tribute befitting many of the amazing
attributes of the sulphur crested cockatoo and our exuberant Australian way
of life suggesting this is one gang we can live with more harmoniously.
Title: Who’s The Gang On Our Street?
Author: Susanne Gervay
Illustrator: Nancy Bevington
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Publication Date: September 2023
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Picture Book