Monday, November 19, 2012

Who thinks of these things?

A Zeal of Zebras: an alphabet of collective nouns by Woop Studios  is one of those books that makes me wonder.

Who decided that the collective noun for gnus is ‘implausibility’?

(Please, sir, may I have that in a sentence? Each year, from Tanzania to Kenya an implausibility of gnus (wildebeests) traverse wide rivers to reduce the risk of being caught by predators such as lions.) 

This is an alphabet book that presents a double page spread for each letter of the alphabet represented by a collective noun for a group of animals with additional information about the group behaviour of the animals.  (See above paragraph about migrating gnus.)

Some of the words provoke beautiful imagery– an aurora of polar bears, a galaxy of starfish, or a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

Some of the nouns are playful – an embarrassment of pandas, a pandemonium of parrots or an ostentation of peacocks, which, by the way, are recommended as a terrific guard pets.  Move over Fido!

Some of the language conveys a sense of danger – a quiver of cobras, a shiver of sharks or venom of spiders.

Obviously, I haven’t covered all 26 letters but you get the idea.  There is lots of creative, descriptive language to work into language arts and art classes.

Speaking of art – the illustrations are fantastic, too.  Woop Studios is composed of “four friends united by a love of graphic design, words and images.”  And, it shows. The oversized book presents bold, poster-like pages with stylized illustrations of the each animal group. Fonts, colours and uneven inking also contribute to a feeling of posters from yesteryear.

Beautiful, playful and provocative, this will work well with students in upper elementary grades (5/6) to high school. 

Today's Nonfiction Monday event is being held at Perogies and Gyoza.  Check out the list of recommended nonfiction children's titles from around the blogosphere.


Business Library said...

Someone on BoingBoing or similar the other day suggested the world would be a better place if there was such a thing as a squad of squid. Alas, it something so much more mundane I've already forgotten the correct term.

Tammy Flanders said...

I like 'squad' for squid. Has the right ring. There seems to be a few options for squid, clash and audience came up a few times when I did a Google search. Not sure how authoritative either of these are. But squad is good.

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