Who’s the Gang on Our Street?
By Susanne Gervay and Nancy Bevington
Reviewed by Lara Cain Gray
Who’s the Gang on our Street? is a delightful surprise package from Susanne Gervay, a prolific and respected luminary of the Australian children’s literature scene. The cover design shows a gang of neighbourhood kids, posing as if for a team photo. While most face the camera, two are subtly looking to the sky where cockatoos observe the action – and the reader gets a hint that there is more than one gang at play in the scene.
Every page of this book is high energy as we see the kids making music, kicking balls, racing billycarts and hanging on monkey bars. But the gang this book is really talking about is NOT ‘a rock and roll gang with spikey hair’, though it is a little ‘funky-punky’. It’s not ‘a gang of acrobats bounding and balancing’ but it does love to hang upside down. It takes a few beats to understand that the narrator of the story is asking the gang of children to identify another noisy, playful, hungry, energetic gang – the ever-present neighbourhood flock of sulphur crested cockatoos.
This book rewards a few reads to get a sense of the rhythm and the comparisons being made between the kids and the birds’ daily activities. Shared reading would be especially enjoyable, and could be extended using the informative fun facts Q & A spread at the end of the book. Readers could also take this book into the garden or school yard to observe behaviours of cockatoos in urban spaces.