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giraffesJuly Discussion – A Tower of Giraffes by Anna Wright

Anna Wright’s illustrative work has been featured in House and Garden, Country Life and Artists & Illustrators and her love of fabric and wallpaper clearly shines through in her delightful picture book A Tower of Giraffes. Anna employs brightly coloured ink, watercolour and fabric collage in her illustrations. This type of book fits in perfectly to the collection as a factual, informative book that is beautifully and artistically presented.

We discussed the idea of collective nouns and although some of the terms used in this book were familiar to us, a drove of pigs, a romp of otters, an ostentation of peacocks, and a tower of giraffes, there were others we had not heard before.  What a wonderful way to extend the vocabulary of our students through this book. We loved the alliteration: caravan of camels, mischief of mice, flamboyance of flamingos, parcel of penguins, scurry of squirrels and gaggle of geese and the characteristically appropriate names for some animals: a prickle of hedgehogs and a romp of otters. It was also interesting to note and compare the group behaviours that are mentioned, such as geese who fly in a V-shape and honk to encourage the leaders and that sometimes thousands of flamingos live together in the one area.  It would be interesting for the students to discuss what types of collective and group behaviours that humans share. As the author notes, “Maybe animals aren’t too different from people, actually.”