Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Where art, calligraphy and collective nouns collide ...

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies & other such collective nouns by Kate Hursthouse (Little Love)

Fresh from the postbox is a landscape hardback book about collective nouns. First time author illustrator Kate Hursthouse has used her skills as an artist and calligrapher to show what the collective noun names are for a group of animals.

The cover shows a kaleidoscope of butterflies - never knew that ... and that is not the weirdest one. There's a circus of puffins - colourfully illustrated in red and yellow with puffins dancing in a circus environment; a galaxy of starfish - the calligraphy paying homage to the mapping of stars in a constellation; a parliament of owls - with owls looking very business-like gripping a bar; and a memory of elephants - decked out in Indian adornment and swirly writing. And it keeps going ... you should see what a group of tigers are called! There are flamingos, sea horses, turtles, zebras (probably my favourite page), dragonflies, penguins, etc. Quite a wide range of animals from marine and land environments.

I couldn't quite believe what some of the collective nouns were called so checked them out on the Internet. I found most of them, but there are a few that I couldn't find such as a tangle of octopus. One site said there isn't a collective noun for octopus because they're solitary animals, another called them a 'consortium' of octopus. I also read that after a comedy show called a group of gorillas a flange of gorillas, scientists began calling them that collective noun too. So some collective nouns might have been made up and have shown up on the Internet and thereafter were called that.

Teachers, parents, and children will delight in this book. It's colourful, fun and kids will learn something from it. It's not written in 'story' style - it's more a non-fiction book just stating what each collection noun is for each animal. But I imagine it will stir children's interest, imagination and creativity.

Teachers (or parents with home schooled children) could use this book for a springboard for interesting and fun activities with children. Children could find more unusual collective nouns and design their page to complement it - like Kate Hursthouse has done. Along the way, children will learn more about collective nouns, develop their penmanship, practice drawing animals and put it altogether using their burgeoning design skills.  Students could go here for more weird collective nouns. They could also try to make origami dragonflies, teachers could use it for a lesson on use of plurals, an art lesson on patterns in nature and stylising those patterns for art, and a thinking skills activity making up their own collective noun for an animal. A creative teacher, parent or child will have a lot of fun with this book.

If you fall in love with the artwork you can buy them from Kate Hursthouse on her website. Here's a screen shot of some of the prints:

I enjoyed the humour in some of the illustrations - check out that cool looking llama!

ISBN: 978-0-473-42235-6
RRP (Hardback) $30

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