Like its companion title, A Drove of Bullocks (2011), this compendium of collective nouns for 20 different animal groups is imaginatively illustrated with visual plays on the words and accompanied by short, relevant descriptions and realistic silhouettes.
Drove covers mostly mammals and insects; Filth includes birds and aquatic animals. The two titles work well as a pair. These are all genuine words, ranging from the familiar “flock of geese” (though the flocked wallpaper background may be a puzzle) to the unusual “smack of jellyfish.” The spare images are set on double-page spreads. Author-designers Peter and Ann Scott, working as PatrickGeorge, make liberal use of silhouettes and only a few intense colors per image. Some are beautiful, like the “kaleidoscope of butterflies,” and many are gently humorous, like the “pod of dolphins” wearing iPods and earbuds. The “murder of crows” carries weapons from a Clue game. The short descriptive paragraphs explain the group name. In one unfortunate lapse, the authors refer to a stingray’s venomous tail; actually, it’s only a small barb on the tail. A few Briticisms in these titles, first published in England in 2009, may puzzle American readers, but they add to the language interest.
This striking book and its companion will be welcome in schools and homes where language is a focus. (Informational picture book. 8-14)