Feb 22, 2018

Lovin' Life 22/2/2018: Alphabetical Sydney.


'Alphabetical Sydney' is a lovingly illustrated picture book that celebrates the unique and lovable diversity of Sydney from A-Z. Written by Hillary Bell with illustrations by Antonia Pesenti, inspiration for the book came to the pair when they returned to Sydney from abroad with young families.  'Alphabetical Sydney' is a whimsical guide to Sydney seen through the eyes of children and the young at heart.

The Museum of Sydney on the corner of Bridge and Phillip Streets in the city is currently hosting a Creative Lab featuring activities and installations inspired by the book.

Admission is free with your general admission ticket to the museum ($12 AUD adults, $8 children over 5).

There's also compact but excellent gift corner in the foyer of the museum.

These wooden toys inspired by icons of Sydney life were my favourite finds.

I was just thinking that this toy candy jar would look lovely on my desk....

The 'Alphabetical Sydney' Creative Lab is on the first floor of the museum.

Just look for the icecream van and don't forget to press the red button on its door.

For a child who is usually first attracted to movement, crowds, brightness and constant activity Master SSG surprised me with his interest in every aspect of the room.  The lights were low (sorry for the white balance on my photos), the only sound to be heard was from the audio of the book being narrated and there was a distinct absence of anything that might be remotely climbable...

The wall of magnetic letters fascinated him as he set about creating letter patterns and later his name.

Large desks in the centre of the room were fully stocked with coloured pencils, glue and paper.  Each child entering the museum was issued with an activity pack to complete in the lab.

Master SSG's bat that we made from the kit got hung upside down by a mini peg amongst all the other bats resting in their crafty nocturnal habitat.

He then took a short break from the craft to dress up and hide in the book corner.

Before asking me to draw on his tag that we hung on the 'Where do you come from?' wall.  People from all over the world had already contributed their drawings.  I saw the Eiffel Tower and croissants drawn by a visitor from Paris and someone from India very artfully drew an elephant.  I'll 'fess up.  Sitting down at a table with pencils and paper on a hot summers day in the airconditioned comfort of the museum was actually very enjoyable even for me.

There was also a wall of 'phones' through which you could hear soundscapes themed to match the wall mural.

The final activity in the lab was to fold paper boats to float in the 'water' of Taronga Zoo Wharf.

The Taronga Zoo illustration was my favourite image of the day.  It holds many happy memories of our own ferry rides to and from the zoo.  The postcard version was available at the museum's store and even looking at it now as I type brings a smile to my face.

Have you read 'Alphabetical Sydney' or been to the lab at the museum? 

What was your favourite image?


  1. We visited the Museum of Sydney with our kids when they were younger and absolutely loved it. It was a few years ago now. We must go back again! :) x

  2. Being from Sydney I would love that Alphabet book. My grandson (almost 4) loves the museum and we often visit together. Looks like great fun for your little one as well. Have a lovely week and thanks for sharing my home city.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  3. What a fantastic idea for kids - it would be such a great place to take them where they're getting educated while having fun (the best kind of learning!)

  4. Alphabetical Sydney sounds like a great idea. I don't know of many books personalised (for kids presumably) to their town.

    And I love that the lab has a lot of 'old school' (dare I say it) stuff to explore and on sale. I used to love trawling stores with hand-made wooden toys and the like for my niece when she was little and loved the idea of traditional gifts! #teamlovinlife


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