A Filth of Starlings: A Compilation of Bird and Aquatic Animal Group Names

Overview

Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award, this is an eye-popping compilation of animal group names with a fresh, contemporary design approach

A school of whales, a flock of geese, a murder of crows: these are some of the animal group names we have grown up with. But have you heard of a congregation of crocodiles, a flamboyance of flamingos, or a smack of jellyfish? Then turn the pages of this book to discover a collection of lesser-known and sometimes more ...

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Overview

Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award, this is an eye-popping compilation of animal group names with a fresh, contemporary design approach

A school of whales, a flock of geese, a murder of crows: these are some of the animal group names we have grown up with. But have you heard of a congregation of crocodiles, a flamboyance of flamingos, or a smack of jellyfish? Then turn the pages of this book to discover a collection of lesser-known and sometimes more fanciful ones—a fever of stingrays, a storytelling of ravens, a battery of barracudas, and more, illustrated with bold, punchy shapes and colors that are powerful to the eye and the mind.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stylish, high-contrast digital graphics (mostly silhouettes) from a British design firm playfully portray collective nouns for various animals, while brief, lyrical passages describe each specimen's physical characteristics and behaviors. "A fever of stingrays" is sleekly envisioned as a white thermometer, in which a red ray's tail becomes the rising mercury. On another spread, a whale's tail becomes a professorial figure's mustache (he wears a graduation cap and glasses) for a "school of whales," and a tessellated design suggestive of Escher allows a "descent" of abstracted woodpeckers to become a staircase. It's a thoughtful and well-executed project, and readers should find the ways in which the names mimic and relate to their subjects illuminating. Available simultaneously: A Drove of Bullocks. Ages 7–up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Collective names for groups of animals/birds can be inordinately descriptive. Ask anyone who has had the misfortune to walk through a starling roost and a "filth" is more than apropos. An "intrusion" of cockroaches conjures up a perfect mental image. While not all these collectives are the first to spring to mind, they are all accurate, and all, in their own way, marvelous. Still more marvelous are the imaginative graphics accompanying each noun and its simple paragraph of interesting information. A "colony" of ants marches in silhouette aslant on the page, each bearing an enormous pea-green letter spelling C-O-L-O-N-Y. A "litter" of kittens is dumped unceremoniously into a trash can. A "kit" of pigeons invites readers to assemble one from a hobby kit of wings, toes, and beaks. Over all is luminescent color—a summer-sky blue, a roseate deep pink, and a milk-chocolate brown are among the solid backgrounds for the inventive silhouettes. Younger children will enjoy seeking a giraffe hidden in a city skyline, while older readers will delight in the evocative names and will process snippets of data that may lead to further investigation.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Collective names for groups of animals/birds can be inordinately descriptive. Ask anyone who has had the misfortune to walk through a starling roost and a "filth" is more than apropos. An "intrusion" of cockroaches conjures up a perfect mental image. While not all these collectives are the first to spring to mind, they are all accurate, and all, in their own way, marvelous. Still more marvelous are the imaginative graphics accompanying each noun and its simple paragraph of interesting information. A "colony" of ants marches in silhouette aslant on the page, each bearing an enormous pea-green letter spelling C-O-L-O-N-Y. A "litter" of kittens is dumped unceremoniously into a trash can. A "kit" of pigeons invites readers to assemble one from a hobby kit of wings, toes, and beaks. Over all is luminescent color—a summer-sky blue, a roseate deep pink, and a milk-chocolate brown are among the solid backgrounds for the inventive silhouettes. Younger children will enjoy seeking a giraffe hidden in a city skyline, while older readers will delight in the evocative names and will process snippets of data that may lead to further investigation.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

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.

Drovecovers mostly mammals and insects;Filthincludes 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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780956255815
  • Publisher: PatrickGeorge
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

PatrickGeorge is an independent publisher that offers a full range of graphic design and illustration services. By focusing on unique designs and bold illustrations, they aim to produce books for kids that are witty and educational, colorful and accessible, challenging and stimulating, and—perhaps most importantly—fun.

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