Thursday, January 14, 2016

Numerical Street by Antonia Presenti and Hilary Bell

Last year I talked about Alphabetical Sydney and I am pleased to say one of the grades in my school have adopted this terrific book as a key text to study.  Now we have the companion volume Numerical Street.

Numerical Street is a slightly more complex text. There may be some 'old fashioned' ideas you need to explain to a younger reader such as hairdressers putting combs in blue water, the work of an upholstery shop and the plastic tray covers used by butchers but don't let that stop you seeking out this book.  Young children will enjoy all the stories you have to share of shopping in the past.   I love the premise of looking for numbers in your environment.  The choice of shops have a slightly retro feel which will appeal to adult audience and young children will enjoy hunting for all the number references.  It will be easy to guess my favourite page - the cake shop!

"One apple pie, please, and one neenish tart,
Fingerbun, rock cake and scone: That's a start.
Still got a terrible sharp hunger pang:
Make it a very large lemon meringue.
Throw in a lamington - yes that's enough.
And tea, please. No sugar, I don't touch the stuff."

For international readers here is a plate of Neenish tarts.  They are small pastry cases filled with a mock cream, sometimes there is a smear of jam under the cream and the top as you can see is chocolate and pink icing.  One of my jobs as a young student was in a suburban cake shop and after lots of practice and failures I actually mastered the technique of icing a neenish.

Also for international readers you might need to research some of the Australian words used in Numerical Street such as esky, thermos, rego, undies, banksias and myna birds.  I have included some cake photos below.

Here are a couple of my favourite lines from Numerical Street :

"Our pharmacist's busy, don't have a conniption:
Please take a seat while we fill your prescription."

Here is the web site of the illustrator and some images from this book.   You might like to read about the inspiration for this book.  Here is a review.

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