A Tower of Giraffes

Tower of GiraffesA Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups
by Anna Wright
32 pages; ages 3-7
Charlesbridge, 2015

What do you call a bunch of geese hanging out at the park next to the river? A gaggle, says Anna Wright. Animals can live in large social groups or small families, but no matter how many are in a group, each species lives in a unique social order.

She writes about their social lives in this book of collective nouns. Squirrels hang out in “scurries”, and when danger threatens, they whistle out a warning to their buddies. They scurry away, and you realize that’s how they got their name.

Wright collects a bunch of the best collective nouns (question: what do you call a bunch of collective nouns, anyway?). For example: a flamboyance of flamingos, a romp of otters, a parcel of penguins. I’ve learned that I have a mischief of mice in my basement, and the correct name for my friend’s collection of hedgehogs is prickle.

The names are fun, and the tidbits about their social lives are cool – but what really drew me to this book are the illustrations. They are mixed media with fabric, feathers, wallpaper…. they are fun, fun, fun! Especially the sheep, who look like they are made from bits of sweater, and the peacocks with real peacock feathers.

So, what do you call a book that combines great science and imaginative art? STEAM. So go ahead. Pull out some field guides and your basket of scraps, and have fun creating your own artsy animals.

Nonfiction Monday

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