Number 7 Evergreen Street by Julia Patton

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Published by Templar, 2020.

Number 7 Evergreen Street is a gorgeous picture book about a community coming together. Penelope Petersham, or Pea for short, lives in the top floor flat at number 7 Evergreen Street. It’s a grey street without any trees or flowers.

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One day, lots of construction workers arrive and begin building some new flats in Evergreen Street. The town’s mayor has big plans for urban redevelopment and, as part of this, number 7 Evergreen Street is to be demolished! Pea has to think quickly to save her home.

My son and I love the quirky flat where they all live – jutting out staircases, ladders, crazy contraptions, and a boat on the top! You get to tilt the book on its side and enjoy a double page spread showing all the different flats and the various residents.

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Pea has amazing, quirky neighbours and they are all great friends. Pea shares her plan with them and they all work together to save their home, building a fantastic communal garden which enhances the street far more than any luxury flats ever could. The garden is warmly welcomed by everyone living on the street, including the new residents. Number 7 Evergreen Street is a lovely story of community spirit, reflected beautifully in the illustration below.

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We loved the book’s illustrations, which are packed with detail and teeming with wildlife – cute birds in particular. There’s a warmth and a charm to the characters, and the bullying, angry mayor is a great caricature. We also really liked the yellow and black striped construction workers who looked like a swarm of bees. Some of the illustrations are collaged, adding lovely texture and depth to the images. The book’s big reveal is a double page spread which opens up to display the new garden across four pages. The plant leaves and flowers have been collaged and look wonderful. This illustration brilliantly conveys the book’s message of the importance of nature in the city and the value of green spaces as community spaces.

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For me, after weeks of lockdown, Number 7 Evergreen Street is a story that really resonates with me. I’ve found our garden to be a soothing, calming place. I’ve felt reassured watching the plants grow and blossom despite the devastation caused by the pandemic. My young son and I have spent lots of time outside playing together, sewing seeds and tending to our plants. The book reflects this; the new garden in Evergreen Street is described as a place where “families and friendships could blossom”. Number 7 Evergreen Street is an uplifting, hopeful book – perfect for the unsettling times we find ourselves in. 

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 3+

Thank you to Templar for sending me this book to review.

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