Books for ages 8-10: A Storytelling of Ravens by Kyle Lukoff

A Storytelling of Ravens

Kyle Lukoff and Natalie Nelson
Groundwood Books, 2018.
32 pages.
Have you ever considered how macabre the phrase “a murder of crows” is, or asked if anyone else thought it was weird that people would call a group of fish a school? Sometimes, words for groups of animals make sense–for instance, a herd of geese makes sense because herd is also what you try to do to the geese as you avoid getting bitten. Other words for groups of animals are a lot more whimsical, and don’t seem as concerned with practicality. Sometime, a long time ago, probably when not very many people knew how to write, people who did know how to write developed things called collective nouns and said that these words were the official, proper way to describe groups of animals. A lot of times, these words are silly and poetic. In this book, Kyle Lukoff tries to imagine different scenarios that might make these official words make more sense. A smack of jellyfish, for example, make more sense if you imagine them smacking against the bottom of a glass-bottom boat, a memory of elephants must need to recall a peanut field–and what kind of story can you imagine behind the phrase a nuisance of cats? The different thoughtful short episodes in this very funny, kooky book are illustrated colorfully in papercuts and collage. Lukoff and Natalie Nelson make fun of the bizarre things the English language does and explore the rich storytelling we can put into the simplest of phrases if we try.

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