Collective nouns are the singular focus of this straightforward picture book.
A round-headed monkey asks a white man who has a positively insectile mustache and is dressed in a top hat and red coat, “I’m curious. What do you call a group of geese?” The man answers the question (a gaggle) and adds the names of groups of sheep (a flock) and cows (a herd). The monkey replies, “Wow! I wonder what you would call a group of giraffes?” And so the dialogue continues: the monkey asking, the man answering. These two characters are pictured against a white background on a side panel set off from each spread illustrating the group of animals in a way that alludes to their collective noun, with varying success—a memory of elephants, for example, is shown as an elephant within another elephant’s thought bubble within a third elephant’s thought bubble. There is no apparent reason why the monkey wants to know these nouns nor any apparent structure moving the story forward. Reading this book aloud is no fun, unless learning the collective nouns is of burning interest to readers, and there is no index that would make this book useful in a reference collection. The only reason to keep turning the pages is the lovely collage illustrations, featuring playful use of shapes and patterns in sophisticated color palettes.
There are several other successful picture books about collective nouns to be preferred over this one. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-8)