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A Storytelling of Ravens
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A Storytelling of Ravens

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  164 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A 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. Ea ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Groundwood Books
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  164 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Full disclosure: Kyle’s a friend who I’m very proud of. That being said, I adored this clever book of wordplay—the title gives you a little taste of what you’re in for. The illustrations are also full of little jokes and the animals have tremendous personality in simple line drawings. This is a book for anyone who loves language, humor, and side-eye.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Animal Lovers / Readers Who Enjoy Quirky, Offbeat Picture-Books
Taking terms of venery - collective nouns used to describe various groups of animals - as an inspiration, first-time author Kyle Lukoff and artist Natalie Nelson produce a charming picture-book in A Storytelling of Ravens. Each two page spread describes a group of animals doing something rather quirky and offbeat - a bloat of hippopotamuses racing for the cupcake factory where there's been an explosion, the smack of jellyfish encountering a glass-bottomed boat - while the artwork accentuates the ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Humans love groups. We love separating ourselves into them, or putting other people into them (even when they don’t particularly want to be grouped). As small children, it’s one of the ways we prefer to make sense of the world. Not necessarily in an us vs. them mentality (though that’s bound to come up occasionally) but more as a way of defining ourselves by what we both are and aren’t. I’m this not that. You’re that not this. And, on occasion, we move ourselves out of one group and into another ...more
This is a book of terms of venery written with a child audience in mind. As such it is a bit on the instructive side but when taken altogether I think it failed in its approach.

First of all the person is clearly a dog person in my opinion for the collective for cats has never been nuisence that I know of. There are one or two more examples in the book itself that are much more modern venery terms while the rest seem to be of the older class.

At the same time there is no actual plot to the stor
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! This book is everything you want to see in a children's book: humor, education, and clever wordplay. Adults will enjoy this one just as much as, or even more than, kids.
Kristina Jean Lareau
Inconsistent in its cleverness...
Interesting interpretation of animals collective nouns. What do these evocative words like "nuisance of cats" or "memory of elephants" make you think of? Could be an interesting writing or art prompt, too.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elementary
Full disclosure - Kyle is a librarian and a friend, so call me doubly biased, but I highly recommend his debut picture book. It’s charming and clever, and feels truly original. While kids will need adult scaffolding for some of the jokes, I think it’s a book that invites repeat readings.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A clever and imaginative play on words. I enjoyed There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith a bit better.
Susannah Goldstein
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
This is such a charming book- one that parents and teachers will love as much as the kids. The text is short, snappy, and witty; and the illustrations are delightful and wry. (Disclaimer: I know the author, but the wordsmith in me would love this book just the same)
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an inquisitive picture book focusing on unusual collective nouns! Perhaps the only disappointment is in the title, since a group of crows isn't actually a 'storytelling', but an 'unkindness' or 'conspiracy'. Although that probably wouldn't make an appealing picture book title.
mary dewley
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
A confusing construction paper nightmare wrapped in avocado and pepto-bismol colors.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t, 2019t
Why we chose this book:
Three words: animals and wordplay
Groundwood Books provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Mom's Review (V)

Imagine a group of hippopotamuses, a bloat, to be precise, paddling down the river to a cupcake factory. How will they feel after indulging themselves? Bloated, perhaps? If you like this type of humor, then grab your copy of A Storytelling of Ravens. Each animal group name, from that bloat of hippos to a smack of jellyfish to an ostentation of peacocks,
Baby Bookworm
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Storytelling Of Ravens, written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Natalie Nelson, a wonderfully quirky book about animal collectives.

Basing each illustration/text example around a different animal collective noun (such as a “storytelling of ravens” or a “shrewdness of apes”), the reader is treated to a number of delightfully weird situations in which the anim
In mixed-media brightest of colors by Natalie Nelson, Kyle Lukoff takes a step further in describing those collective animal names of which we are fond. No "murder of crows" here, but a delightful assortment of kinds of animals, including a smack of jellyfish and a sloth of bears. Did you know those names? In the extra info, Kyle adds to the story that makes meaning of the collections. For example, the "knot of toads didn't know what to do. Everyone wanted the fly, but not that badly." The illu ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books-jp
Great title, appealing art, I was excited at the first line that someone had FINALLY taken the intriguing names of groups of animals and created a story. Well, sort of. Each page tells a small story, think flash fiction very micro that you have to carry in your mind. Not a bad thing. I can imagine great discussions to finish up the stories at various readings (what happens after the bloat of hippos get to the cupcake factory?) but I have to admit to being disappointed that it wasn't one connecte ...more
Benjamin Elliott
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is interesting, most of the words used inform the illustrations and it creates a fun interplay between the two. I think some of the choices used hurt my enjoyment of it because several of the earlier ones are less common alternate names for animals I knew a group name for so when it opens with cats, elephants, and sheep in the first five, which I am familiar with group names for other than the ones used, I assumed that the group names were made up. Then I got confused when I ran into ones I ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Lukoff, Kyle A Storytelling of Ravens, pictures by Natalie Nelson. PICTURE BOOK. Groundwood Books, 2018. $19. 978-1554989126

Lukoff tries to bring sly humor to the collective nouns that we use for animal groups. Unfortunately the meanings will be lost on a young audience. The stylized illustrations are colorful and amusing. This might be useful in an older (high school) class as a short exercise in creative writing or illustration, but getting a high school teacher to use a picture book is a diff
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Although I didn't particularly like the storyline here, I did enjoy the wordplay and the use of collective nouns, many of which I had never heard of--a nuisance of cats, a knot of toads, a sloth of bears, for instance. Complemented with illustrations, created with gouache paint, ink drawings found photos, and digital collage, this book might be useful to share with students who love collecting unusual words. I wish there'd been a little bit more of a plot, but it was still fun to follow the anim ...more
Cathryn Wellner
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspiration
Four stars for cleverness and creativity. This was too sophisticated to capture the interest of my 10-year-old granddaughter, but I loved it as an adult. This is over-the-top fun for language lovers and just right for stirring the imagination of young writers wanting to stretch their wings. Natalie Nelson's illustrations are a delight.

A unique and delightful book.
A picture book of collective nouns?!? This nerd says yes please!!!
It was a bit disappointing in its lack of cohesiveness though. Each page stands alone, which is fine, unless the grand total is 16 pages of text.
It's a well illustrated picture book about collective nouns. It lacks cohesion but until something better emerges, I say credit for first foray.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult-kids
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Cleverly written and illustrated, kids will have a lot of fun learning different words and phrases with this book. While some made me pause and think, I think they'd be pretty easy to grasp by kids. I personally loved the sloth of bears and the parliament of owls.

4.5/5 rounds to 5/5.
Patricia McLaughlin
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
No story here, folks, just a list of unusual terms of venery. For adults with interest in collective nouns, but potentially useful as a sleep aid for children. A second star for the business of eye-rolling ferrets.
J David
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A STORYTELLING OF RAVENS by Kyle Lukoff and illustrations by Natalie Nelson is an attractive board book for juveniles. The text is pedestrian but the illustrations and the use of color are enchanting. I recommend this book if only to admire the illustrations.
Rebecca Labrador
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I would have rated it higher if the only clue to animal nomenclature wasn't in the subject headings across from the title page. Without that or knowledge of animal group names, it is too confusing. I picked up the book at my library because I liked the title and cover illustration.
Claudia Sanchez
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it

I started to learn English when I was very young and I am still amused by the sheer weirdness of the language. This book was educational and has fun word-play but there wasn't anything that made it extraordinary so 3.5 stars it is.
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Groups of animals have special names. Lukoff and Nelson gather of few groups of animals and give them a short one sentence story on each page of this picture book. It's clever and would be fun to share with elementary students and up.

Reviewed from a library copy.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Collective nouns plus beautiful art plus ravens? A++
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
So witty! But I definitely think this is more for adults who understand the puns on the names of the groups of animals, but fun for children nonetheless with funny illustrations.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very met wordplay book about the words we use to describe groupings of animals. Also, tell me: why is it a "murder" of crows but a "storytelling" of ravens? There's some sort of injustice in that.
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