Welp, I had grand plans of posting a new picture book review more than once per week. But alas! Homeschooling, freelance editing, children's book writing, cooking, cleaning (and gardening!), eating and sleeping have taken up most of my time.
I made this bread...and then ate almost all of it
My little hyper-local community (I live on a dead-end street called a "close" in a semi-rural English village) has been actively bolstering each other during the pandemic. Non-quarantining people are offering to do the shopping for the sick or vulnerable. On our daily walks, we are crossing the street to give distance while also smiling, waving, and chatting. One of my neighbors (a potter) gave me a half slab of earthenware to play around with. And some of us are even having video-chat sessions...even if we live right next door!
So, I couldn't imagine a better book to highlight on You Gotta Read This! than...
Number 7 Evergreen Street, by Julia Patton, is a book that I've been reading with my littlest one a lot lately. Maybe he (and I) finds it familiar...
First of all, the main character, Penelope Petersham (aka "Pea" because she is tiny and loves to wear green), is as charming as a bunch of kindergarten kids doing a school play. That is, she is a bundle of adorable-ness. So, right away a young reader wants to follow her story.
I mean...hello, cutie!
The story centers around Pea, her family, and the cast of neighbors who live in her building at, you guessed it: Number 7 Evergreen Street. Julia Patton introduces us to a whole team of irresistible characters, in a lovely vertical spread showcasing the entire building (I love when books do this--just the action of turning the book excites a kid):
Now, how many flats are there? Let's count!
At this moment in the story, we become hooked on the people who live in this building. They become our neighbors. It only takes a little bit of conflict to get the reader invested in the dear residents of 7 Evergreen.
And conflict does come, my friends! The mayor wants to tear their building down to make room for a slicker, newer, not so quirky-ship-inspired luxury apartment complex. Well, I never!
The turning point of the story arrives with a...double gatefold spread! Haha, no spoilers here.
But see my Instagram feed for a little peek!
Underlying it all, this story highlights a community coming together--with love, positivity, and determination--against all odds. What better time than now for this heartening book, when many of us are reliant on our small communities to lift our spirits, help with some food shopping, and remind us that even though we're isolating, we are never alone.
You can buy Number 7 Evergreen Street...
In the UK from Waterstones, Foyles, Hive, and the publisher's website.
It doesn't seem to be available yet in the US, but Julia's other books are--so go check her out!
And please check out my other picture book reviews:
On Wings of Words
How I came to be writing these reviews
Number 7 Evergreen Street, written and illustrated by Julia Patton
Published by Templar Books
Hardcover ISBN 9781787416284