sloth of bears, a smack of jellyfish, a nuisance of cats — these are
some of the surprising and idiosyncratic names we have for groups of
animals. Inspired by the evocative possibilities of collective nouns,
also called “terms of venery,” author Kyle Lukoff and illustrator
Natalie Nelson have created a picture book full of clever wordplay and
delightful illustrations. Each spread features a nugget of a story using
a particular term, which is accompanied by a collage illustration that
serves as the visual punch line.
But where did these unusual names come from? Many of them can be traced back to a book on hunting, hawking and heraldry, printed in 1486 — the Book of St. Albans, which has been reproduced many times since.
A Storytelling of Ravens provides a unique opportunity to explore and rejoice in the oddities of the English language.
Natalie Nelson's illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Bitter Southerner, and the Washington Post. She is the illustrator of The King of the Birds, written by Acree Graham Macam, and Uncle Holland, written by JonArno Lawson. She lives in Atlanta with her husband.