‘This is our Sydney, the brightest and best of it,
North to the south to the east and the west of it.
Bats and cicadas, lawn bowls and the zoo,
This is our town. Let us share it with you.’
It has been ten years since friends and Sydney locals Antonia Pesenti and Hilary Bell took readers on a lovingly-created and fun-filled adventure around of one of Australia’s most-beloved cities. To celebrate the birthday, a special edition of Alphabetical Sydney has hit the shelves and if you don’t have it yet then now is the perfect time to grab a copy.
Uniquely presented and not comparable to any other city guide, the visually striking and captivating pages of this book are a joy from beginning to end. ‘This is our Sydney. We’ll show you the sights’, are the words that greet readers before a clever alphabetical poem offers a tantalising indication of what is to come. Presented across twenty-six glorious double page spreads - a four-line verse for each letter of the alphabet and an exquisite illustration on the facing page - this rhythmical jaunt around the sights, sounds and smells of Sydney is a wonderful ode to a fantastic and vibrant city.
Loved by locals and revered by tourists, Sydney is a hotchpotch of wonder and awesomeness and for each letter of the alphabet one particular ‘thing’ is celebrated. What I particularly love is that the obvious and stereotypical Sydney things are often omitted in favour of those that really capture the essence of the place and make the city all that it is. Sure, there wouldn’t have been any complaints if Opera House was chosen for O, instead, Pesenti and Bell give us Ocean Pool and the leathery locals in their pink bathing caps swimming laps.
Sydney-siders will fondly bask in the landmarks of the place they call home whilst visitors and tourists are provided with a fabulous starting point of what to seek out. For the sightseers there is Luna Park, Centennial Park, the Royal Easter Show, Harbour bridge, Circular Quay, Parramatta Road and Taronga Zoo. Nature-lovers will find bats, cicadas, frangipanis, ibis’, jacarandas and jasmine, kookaburras and Moreton Bay figs to name but a few. Foodies can get their fill with meat pies, hot fish ’n’ chips, prawn dumplings, green tea, fried oysters, ice-creams and Blue Heaven milkshakes. And then there’re the little things that make a city a home for many, the corner shops, the gardens, the garage sales on weekends, the back lanes and rows of terraced houses, the parks and nature strips, and of course, the pools for cooling down from that Sydney sun.
A glorious and informative visual alphabet that will be adored by locals, both young and old, and is sure to be warmly appreciated by tourists too.
With huge thanks to NewSouth Publishing and Rosina Di Marzo for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 3+.