Having read an enchanting book on owls of the world, by
artist Matt Sewell, I was delighted to find another in the
same vein. A CHARM OF GOLDFINCHES AND OTHER COLLECTIVE
NOUNS looks at a host of natural nouns and the creatures
they describe. We all know a pride of lions, or skein of
geese, but for certain you won't know some of these labels.
First we look at land animals: who knew it's a sleuth of
bears? Matt traces this back to the sleuth hound, a term
for a hound used to hunt out the animals from English
forest in the Middle Ages. And it's a mob of emus.
Australians also say a mob of cattle, so maybe it's a
generic term. An array of hedgehogs; maybe because all
those spines look like an array of spears. And a memory of
elephants, part of the fable that elephants never forget.
All these mentions are accompanied by cheerful art. Except
the plague of rats.
Matt tells us that he lives in Shropshire in England, and
he was delighted to hear that a richness of pine martens
has been spotted there, for the first time in many years.
How nice to be able to drop such a rare word into general
Next we take to the air, with a convocation of stern eagles
contrasted with the charm of tiny goldfinches feeding on
tinier seed heads. Five different kingfishers are drawn and
named, but you would be lucky to see a crown of kingfishers
of all the same type. A deceit of lapwings arises from the
bird's looping flight to fool hawks and pretended limping
on the ground to draw hunters from its nest. The
parliament of owls may have originated with large numbers
sitting in a tree, as in the photo from Serbia which Matt
used as inspiration. And maybe the truest noun is the
quarrel of sparrows, as these little birds are always very
Water brings us to a school of whales, a shiver of sharks,
a bask of crocodiles, which do actually look scary. And at
the end is a little collection of animals in this book of
collections. A CHARM OF GOLDFINCHES AND OTHER COLLECTIVE
NOUNS is a cute book by Matt Sewell which would suit nature
lovers, fans of simple, bold art, or those in need of an
enjoyable gift. If you have read 'Owls: Our Most Enchanting
Bird' you'll know what to expect.
A charm of goldfinches, an ascension of larks, a bask of
crocodiles, a cloud of bats, a wake of vultures--all of
these colorful collective nouns and more are showcased in
this enchanting illustrated book by beloved artist Matt
Accompanying each illustration is a playful description of
each group of animals' personality, quirks, and habits.
Sewell's uniquely witty take on the subject and delicately
vivid illustrations make for a lovely new addition to his
series of collectible books including Owls and
Penguins and Other Seabirds. Playing on the theme of
collective nouns for animals and illustrated with Matt
Sewell's inimitable watercolors, this book makes a great
gift for nature and art lovers everywhere.