A stack, a library, a shelf are all collective nouns used to describe a group of books. I don’t know who came up with most collective nouns but that person, those people, deserve recognition. I am amazed at how fitting the nouns are, especially for groups of animals. The word always gets at some inherent characteristic of the animal being explained. Perfect examples: a crash of rhinos, a murder of crows, a swarm of bees. Think this topic might be a little tricky to introduce to children? Think again! There are plenty of these books out there and three were published in the past year alone. Each uses a different approach to introduce collective nouns in fun, kid-friendly ways. Check them out below.
An Ambush of Tigers by Rosenthal and Jago is an imaginative introduction to the subject. Rhyming text asks questions of the reader to connect one group of animals to the next, “When a murder of crows/ leaves barely a trace,/ is a sleuth of bears/ hot on the case?” The detailed artwork illustrates the text wonderfully, highlighting the hilarity of each situation. This one is perfect for one-on-one reading with child allowing you to pore over the poetry and silliness of each page.
A Tower of Giraffes by Anna Wright features gorgeously designed mixed media images of each animal group. And bonus – this is a nonfiction title! Not only does it outline the collective noun but it also offers interesting facts about each animal described. The new vocabulary and animal facts may even spark an interest in other nonfiction titles. A great informational read for children in the lower elementary grades.
A Crash of Rhinos is a vibrant addition to the shelf. The colorful illustrations and rhyming text lend this one to storytime. Younger children will enjoy the silly images of rhinos driving cars, gorillas rocking out, and hogs playing ball. It also uses a smart trick, starting out with more familiar collective nouns, “school of fish” and “flock of birds,” to make the new information even more accessible. My favorite moment comes in the final two pages where a parade of elephants is cleverly introduced.