Group Hug!: A Collective Noun Safari
Ford Street, 2022
40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95
Have you heard of a flamboyance of flamingos? Perhaps a bloat of hippos or even an implausibility of gnus?
Wilbur is on a journey through his local zoo, visiting his favourite animals and discovering the wonderful words that describe groups of them.
Written in rhyme with a repetitive refrain, it is an entertaining way for students to investigate some of the more outrageous nouns, as they develop their vocabulary and perhaps even speculate on how the groups got their labels. They might even investigate the noun associated with their favourite creature to create an extra page for the book, including illustrations that offer similar extra information as the originals. Teachers’ notes offer other suggestions for using this book in the English strand.
However, Fackrell has intended this to be more than a romp through a zoo to build vocabulary. He is a strong supporter of The Lion’s Share, a fund backed by the United Nation’s Development Programme – its mentor David Attenborough –and its work protecting our most vulnerable wildlife groups. Thus, each spread features a supporting cast of unnamed species, all biologically correct to the ecosystem. For instance, in the Andes, alongside the Flamboyance of Flamingos there is a Knot of endangered, Lake Titicaca Water Frogs.
The endpapers of the hardback version are a definitive and fun reference source with a world map of all known collective nouns drawn on the inside front, with the matching animal names on the inside back.
To learn more about the book’s creation, there is a Q & A with Andy Fackrell here.