We both love to savor words–the sound, the fascinating meanings, the way they play off each other. . .Luckily for us, there are many new books for both new and experienced readers that delight in language celebrations. So we have chosen one for you (a picture book that introduces the younger set to the fun of collective nouns) and one for me and the adult word lovers out there who will appreciate a compilation of the intriguing terms that describe groups of animals. Enjoy!
An Ambush of Tigers by Betsy Rosenthal, illustrated by Jago
Even young children have likely heard of a flock of sheep or a herd of cows, but what about an ambush of tigers, or a rumba of snakes, a labor of moles? The illustrations are a perfect match for helping remember these whimsical words: a bouquet of pheasants is pictured sprouting from a vase; a bed of oysters is snoozing away on its comfy bed, and a rumba of snakes dances across the page. The iambic pentameter verses are a fitting ode to the wonder of words in this delightful new picture book.
Lots of new words to add to your collection, like a cete of badgers, a grist of bees, and the title surprise, a mumuration of starlings. And such a pleasure to learn the stories behind the words, often as far back as the middle ages. Author Steve Palin has beautifully illustrated and given the background to about fifty different animals and birds with interesting collective nouns — and listed 420 of them in his glossary. Dig in and enjoy this celebration of words and history.