From a gaggle of geese to an ostentation of peacocks, a gathering of collective nouns.
A brief forward introduces the idea that all animals “have varied social lives, family systems, and living situations,” ending with the note that “Maybe animals aren’t too different from people, actually.” Indeed, as each animal group is highlighted, readers learn that koalas are mostly solitary, penguins “love being together,” and female giraffes “make friends and avoid the giraffes they don’t get along with.” The tone is conversational and sometimes witty. The art is spectacular: exquisite pen-and-ink drawings that capture collective animal personalities, filled with either masterful watercolor washes or carefully selected scraps of fabric and wallpaper. Some feathers have found their ways onto the birds, too. The drollest spread features sheep, gazing blandly at the reader, their coats showing patterned knits, some of which appear to unravel off the page. The text mentions how, when threatened, they will “run swiftly in a wild and woolly whirlwind.” The sole disappointment is the lack of a solid ending to the book, especially considering the strong preface. After learning about the peacock’s loud call, readers turn the page to animal-adorned endpapers.
This brief, exquisite overview may well have readers wishing for a sequel—or consulting reference books to find out more collective nouns. (Informational picture book. 4-9)