A TOWER OF GIRAFFES by Anna Wright: Delighting in Playful Words

A tower of giraffes.

A drove of pigs.

A scurry of squirrels.

A  new picture book is always a time for celebration for me, but I have been delighting particularly in the children’s book A Tower of Giraffes by Anna Wright. Not only are her illustrations of different groups of animals captivating and whimsical, the focus on a love of words shines through each page.

I knew several of the terms that describe animals, collective nouns like flock or troop or gaggle. But so many were not only new to me, but brought a smile to my face, like: a flamboyance of flamingos, or a parliament of owls. My favorites are terms that fit the animal perfectly: a scurry of squirrels, a mischief of mice, a prickle of hedgehogs. I can’t wait to share these perfect words with the children in my life, in and out of school.

And it’s got me thinking about the power of words for description. I couldn’t help but create some of my own collective nouns for people: perhaps an ambition of politicians? An annoyance of telemarketers?

What about my own profession, teachers? In my quest to create the perfect descriptive term for a collection of teachers, I turned to my colleagues who provided some wonderful terms: how about one to honor creativity, like: an innovation or a bard of teachers. One friend wanted to highlight our profession’s star-like qualities and offered: a constellation of teachers; another wanted to focus on our impact on the future: a destiny of teachers. I’m pretty fond of an enthusiasm of teachers.

My recommendation this week: check out A Tower of Giraffes. . .and indulge in some collective noun creativity.


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