What Do You Call a Group of Collective Noun Books?

BookendsCindy: I know a stack of librarians who will love An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns (2015), by Betsy R. Rosenthal. We’ve read a few collective noun books before and Lynn and I are fans of them all. There’s something about the tidy organizing that must appeal to the librarians in us. If you follow the link above you will see Carolyn Phelan’s great review of this title, but don’t miss the list of several other collective noun books that appears off to the right. (Using the “Booklist Editors Recommend” feature on Booklist Online is a great way to help readers find books similar to the ones they just read and loved. Try it!)

If a group of teachers is a quiz of teachers, would
a group of English teachers be a correction?

Rosenthal presents a pair of collective nouns in rhyme, many interacting creatively with each other. For instance:

Does a tower of giraffes
way up high
spy a raft of otters
floating by?

Ambush of TigersFor that rhyme, Jago’s gorgeous digital art displays giraffes stacked on top of each other, the one on top wearing binoculars, while the otters wearing bandanas, eye patches, and sabers float by on a raft of branches. This will make a great classroom read aloud and will lead to discussion and creative play with words.

Teachers and librarians should team up with a palette of art teachers and create their own collective noun rhymes and illustrations. It’s a perfect activity for April’s Poetry Month. Leave it to Wiktionary to have a Glossary of Collective Nouns by Subject. A flight of aircraft? A belt of asteroids? An aroma of bakers? The possibilities are endless. And if the list doesn’t have what you want? Make up your own! I looked up books, and one of the suggestions is “a pile of books.” Have they been peeking in my living room?

Lynn: Cindy is right—we LOVE collective nouns and I’m equally in love with this fabulous book. There is so much to enjoy here: the silly rhymes that frolic with the collective noun, the illustrations that carry the joke forward, and the wonderful small details in each of the illustrations that extend the fun. Be sure to take your time with this lovely book so you don’t miss a thing.

Just ONE question—if a group of teachers is a quiz of teachers, would a group of English teachers be a correction?  And then there are  book bloggers….

Cindy: A blather of book bloggers? A babble? But when we get a highly-prized ARC…a squeal of book bloggers! HA.

nonfiction-mondayCheck out Nonfiction Monday for more youth informational book blog posts.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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