A Charm of Goldfinches and Other Collective Nouns
A charm of goldfinches, an ascension of larks, a school of dolphins, a cloud of bats, a murder of crows. All these and more are portrayed in this enchanting new book by much loved artist Matt Sewell, playing on the theme of collective nouns for animals.Illustrated with Matt’s inimitable watercolours, and imbued with a love of his subjects that will resonate with people everywhere and of all ages, this book is a great gift for nature and art lovers.Accompanying each illustration is a playful, quirky description of each groups' personality that readers cannot help but smile at. Sewell's unique witty take on the subject, and delicately vivid illustrations make for a lovely addition to his collection of pocketable books.

A Charm of Goldfinches and Other Collective Nouns Details

TitleA Charm of Goldfinches and Other Collective Nouns
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 6th, 2016
PublisherEbury Digital
Rating
GenreEnvironment, Nature, Nonfiction, Science, Natural History, Art, Humanities, Language

A Charm of Goldfinches and Other Collective Nouns Review

  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    I found out about this book thanks to a friend here and since I'm a linguist and love everything quirky about languages (palindromes, puns, etc), I also enjoy all the collective nouns of the animal kingdom. One of my personal favourites has always been "a murder of crows" though thanks to this book I now know that people have been very inventive with the names of other animal groupings as well. So of course I needed to have this book. It is divided into the chapters "land", "air", and "water".Wh I found out about this book thanks to a friend here and since I'm a linguist and love everything quirky about languages (palindromes, puns, etc), I also enjoy all the collective nouns of the animal kingdom. One of my personal favourites has always been "a murder of crows" though thanks to this book I now know that people have been very inventive with the names of other animal groupings as well. So of course I needed to have this book. It is divided into the chapters "land", "air", and "water".What I didn't expect but enjoyed very much was all the historical info about how the nouns came to be as well as some cultural context. Like in the example below:The illustrations, too, of course. I got a taste of Matt Sewell's art in his other book I read yesterday and I really like his style. In this case it brought home the quirkiness of the labels we give animal groups and was the perfect combination.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Humans have always had a natural desire to collect and group things together. It works well for domesticated animals, where people are used to talking about a herd of cows, or a flock of sheep. But how do you collate wild animals and birds? Should they all be flocks and herds? Thankfully human imagination has gone to work on this and come up with a whole host of rich and interesting names for all species of animals. Matt Sewell has collected together all the collective nouns for all manner of an Humans have always had a natural desire to collect and group things together. It works well for domesticated animals, where people are used to talking about a herd of cows, or a flock of sheep. But how do you collate wild animals and birds? Should they all be flocks and herds? Thankfully human imagination has gone to work on this and come up with a whole host of rich and interesting names for all species of animals. Matt Sewell has collected together all the collective nouns for all manner of animals who inhabit land, sea and air. As well as the titled, A Charm of Goldfinches and the well-known Murder of Crows he introduces to us the less common quarrel of sparrows, a quiver of cobras, a harem of seals and deceit of lapwings. Alongside each collective noun is a delightful watercolour of the animals and a little explanation of the origins of the noun.I really liked this enchanting little book with its colourful bold artwork and Sewell’s charming prose but if there was one minor flaw was it too brief.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    This is a lovely book, full of amazing watercolours of land/air/water animals, I recommend the paper version over the electronic version as you'll see the full affect of the paintings which are spread over two pages.With each collection of animals mentioned you get some info on how the collective name was first created, you get info on the animals themselves, an idea of how many species and a nice big helping of Matt Sewell's humour. Here is a sample of him describing Buntings:"There are many di This is a lovely book, full of amazing watercolours of land/air/water animals, I recommend the paper version over the electronic version as you'll see the full affect of the paintings which are spread over two pages.With each collection of animals mentioned you get some info on how the collective name was first created, you get info on the animals themselves, an idea of how many species and a nice big helping of Matt Sewell's humour. Here is a sample of him describing Buntings:"There are many different kinds of buntings around the world and they are all as cute as a baby turtle's birthday party."I was quite surprised how many of these I already knew, but there were still plenty of new ones to learn, so this is a great source of info for those who take part in pub quizzes. A wonderful book that I highly recommend.
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  • Breakaway Reviewers
    January 1, 1970
    A gem of a book to help at quiz nights!I have always enjoyed finding out what a group of a specific animal is called and thanks to Matt Sewell, I am now able to appear hugely knowledgeable when discussing bears by saying “Oh yes, in fact a group of bears is really a sleuth of bears” or “look at that caravan of camels” or my best while staring at a river in Africa “Ah, there is a crash of hippos” Matt Sewell has divided the book into three parts; land, air and water. Who can resist looking into t A gem of a book to help at quiz nights!I have always enjoyed finding out what a group of a specific animal is called and thanks to Matt Sewell, I am now able to appear hugely knowledgeable when discussing bears by saying “Oh yes, in fact a group of bears is really a sleuth of bears” or “look at that caravan of camels” or my best while staring at a river in Africa “Ah, there is a crash of hippos” Matt Sewell has divided the book into three parts; land, air and water. Who can resist looking into the skies and saying “There’s a convocation of eagles” or watching vultures feasting on a dead animal “We’re so lucky to see a wake of vultures”And in the water section some equally brilliant descriptive nouns: “A shiver of sharks” (too right! It would send your body into shivers!) or “a smack of jellyfish” (and we’ve all experienced how sore that can be!)This is a truly beautiful book that will appeal to young and old and if remembering all the descriptive nouns is a bit too taxing on the brain, then just paging through and studying his brilliant sketches will bring hours of fun.TreebeardBreakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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  • Preeti
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't realize until I got this book from NetGalley that I'd read and reviewed another one of Matt Sewell's books, Owls: Our Most Enchanting Bird. This follows a similar format to that one, and to a bunch of other Sewell books. This one in particular takes a look at the fun and amusing names there are for groups of different kinds of animals, for example, a murder of crows or a parliament of owls, and it also has some descriptions and thoughts about the names and animals. I felt pretty much th I didn't realize until I got this book from NetGalley that I'd read and reviewed another one of Matt Sewell's books, Owls: Our Most Enchanting Bird. This follows a similar format to that one, and to a bunch of other Sewell books. This one in particular takes a look at the fun and amusing names there are for groups of different kinds of animals, for example, a murder of crows or a parliament of owls, and it also has some descriptions and thoughts about the names and animals. I felt pretty much the same about this book as that one: it's a whimsical book with cute illustrations. While it does have some scientific information about the animals it portrays, I wouldn't take most of it to the bank. It's not meant to be an informational book, really.I do like the way Sewell illustrates the eyes of some of the animals. Eyes and facial expressions are one of the hardest things to illustrate (as well as human hands!), in my opinion, and I think he does a good job. For example, look at these images of cute, innocent (yeah right!) starlings versus the vultures that are definitely up to something.Here are a few of my other favorites:Overall, it's a cute book but not something I'd buy myself.Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Clare O'Beara
    January 1, 1970
    Having read the recent book on Owls by the author, I was interested to see this one about collective nouns for groups of animals. Each page illustrates the group with spare, colourful, cheeky art. You probably know many of them, but just as probably don't know the rest. Rats, crocodiles and elephants fill the pages as well as the more usual birds in their parliaments, exaltations, murders etc. Good for young readers or adults.I downloaded a copy from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fun, informative and quick read as well as one that surprised me. The reason for the surprise was that although I knew it was about collective nouns I didn't know that the author would be putting more thought into teaching and sharing with his reader than in just giving out the word. Keeping with his British humor the book is a hodgepodge of comedic thoughts, some dark bits best read before allowing a younger child to get a hold of it, personal observations, animal trivia and awarene This was a fun, informative and quick read as well as one that surprised me. The reason for the surprise was that although I knew it was about collective nouns I didn't know that the author would be putting more thought into teaching and sharing with his reader than in just giving out the word. Keeping with his British humor the book is a hodgepodge of comedic thoughts, some dark bits best read before allowing a younger child to get a hold of it, personal observations, animal trivia and awareness of some conservation issues. Each animal has one to two paragraphs while the material included is different enough to keep the reading new throughout. And finally there are the beautiful and detailed-illustrations that complete this book.I could probably be just as happy if thugs had been an art-type book. I would highly recommend this book to animal-lovers and those who may be interested in collective nouns as this will be a treasured resource for years to come.
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  • Bonnye Reed
    January 1, 1970
    GNab I received a free electronic copy of this collection from Netgalley, Matt Sewell, and Ebury Digital in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your hard work with me.This is a delightful book for folks of any age. My husband and I were discussing the fact that at one time in our lives we knew many of these collective nouns but have over the years lost that connection. Many of these however were new to us both. I love the fact that only a collection of male peacocks are an osten GNab I received a free electronic copy of this collection from Netgalley, Matt Sewell, and Ebury Digital in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your hard work with me.This is a delightful book for folks of any age. My husband and I were discussing the fact that at one time in our lives we knew many of these collective nouns but have over the years lost that connection. Many of these however were new to us both. I love the fact that only a collection of male peacocks are an ostentation. If the less majestic peahens are included it would become a muster of peafowl. More than one raven becomes an Unkindness. I love ravens and have many in my neck of the woods - Chihuahuan Ravens for the most part - but you rarely ever see only one. Mostly they travel in pairs, and mate for life. Probably one on it's own should be the Unkindness....The artwork in this guide is also exceptional. This is truly a book to awaken interest in the young and nostalgia in us older folk. Pub date Sept 5, 2017
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  • Nostalgia Reader
    January 1, 1970
    First off, these are very lovely illustrations. All the animals are quite cute, especially the birbs—I’ll have to look into some of his other books on birbs because !!BIRBS!The informative blurbs, however, were just not that informative. I did enjoy Sewell’s organic style and how he incorporated personal vignettes and stories about the animal in question, while also providing some basic information about the animal and their group. But it was just too hit and miss in terms of how informative it First off, these are very lovely illustrations. All the animals are quite cute, especially the birbs—I’ll have to look into some of his other books on birbs because !!BIRBS!The informative blurbs, however, were just not that informative. I did enjoy Sewell’s organic style and how he incorporated personal vignettes and stories about the animal in question, while also providing some basic information about the animal and their group. But it was just too hit and miss in terms of how informative it was in regards to “how did that group of animals get that name?” I did highlight some snippets of info, but I wasn’t blown away with how much I learned. It seemed like Sewell could have published this without the vignettes and just his illustrations.There were some instances where multiple other group names were mentioned in the text, some of which were much more interesting than the header entry. For example, it’s a “colony of squirrels” but the author also mentioned names like “scurry” and “drey”—both much quirkier and more indicative of a unique species.While there are some cultural references that they might not get, I would actually recommend this book for middle schoolers. The illustrations are catchy and the information is at a level that would be perfect for sparking a tween’s interest to know more. I probably would have enjoyed this much more myself if I’d read it as a middle schooler.I definitely would love to check out some of Sewell’s other books, if only for the illustrations, which are adorably lovely.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!(Cross posted on my blog.)
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  • Monique
    January 1, 1970
    Review written: August 26, 2017Star Rating: ★★★☆☆Heat Rating: N/A An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book was received free via Netgalley for an honest review. This is a charming book, goldfinches or otherwise. And yes, it is quirky too. I originally chose it thinking it might be something I would want to get for my nieces: informative but fun and with cute artwork.But this is not a book for children. It's really a book for adults dressed up in a cute children's package. Is it informative? Review written: August 26, 2017Star Rating: ★★★☆☆Heat Rating: N/A An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book was received free via Netgalley for an honest review. This is a charming book, goldfinches or otherwise. And yes, it is quirky too. I originally chose it thinking it might be something I would want to get for my nieces: informative but fun and with cute artwork.But this is not a book for children. It's really a book for adults dressed up in a cute children's package. Is it informative? Yes. But it's not really meant to be all important. It's meant to be fun and silly before anything else. The analogies, the allusions, the word choices are all extremely adult and some of the allusions were in fact slightly older than my own age group. I think this book would have done better if it had settled on an audience and then gone for it. It has a sort of split personality and never really sheds that. While, I did like learning some of the terms, I found myself mostly struggling through this book because it felt so completely repetitive. I think this is best used as a coffee table book and for a conversation starter.This review is ©August 2017 by Monique N. and has been posted to Netgalley.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    This is just a charming (pardon the pun) little book about the collective nouns we use for groups of animals. One of my favorite memories from upper elementary school -- or maybe even middle school -- was learning all the various collective nouns used for groups of animals. I was just absolutely fascinated. This book is a beautiful little gem -- hardcover, with watercolor paintings of the animals in question, accompanied by informative (and often amusing) text about the history behind the collec This is just a charming (pardon the pun) little book about the collective nouns we use for groups of animals. One of my favorite memories from upper elementary school -- or maybe even middle school -- was learning all the various collective nouns used for groups of animals. I was just absolutely fascinated. This book is a beautiful little gem -- hardcover, with watercolor paintings of the animals in question, accompanied by informative (and often amusing) text about the history behind the collective noun for that particular animal.
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  • Donna Maguire
    January 1, 1970
    I am a massive fan of the natural world and was delighted to be able to get my hands on a copy of this book. I thought that the images used were beautful, the detail was lovely and I wouldn't mind having them as paintings! The whole book was lovely to read and I'd definately recommend it, easy to read and you can pick it up and put it down with ease as the chapters for the different species are a few pages each. 5 stars from me.
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  • Carmen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a charming, whimsical book and I loved everything from the colorful paintings to the playful descriptions to the names for different groups of birds, animals, and sea creatures. I am certain I'll read this book many times, just because it always put a smile on my face!Review of A Charm of Goldfinches and Other Wild Gatherings by Matt Sewell
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    The best book! Irreverently descriptive and delightful, with beautiful watercolor illustrations. Completely enjoyable, would make a great gift for an animal and language lover. But, as the author/illustrator says in his description of a Shiver of Sharks, "Don't be misled by my bad habit of making everything look cute..."
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  • Victoria Peipert
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful watercolors! Fun snippets about animals and their packs. one star off for some cloudiness around intended reader ages. I think it spans a lot of ages and I would read this to younger readers but when I first saw the book I thought it was a children's book.
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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    kinda fun, kinda silly, illustrations that make you feel like you're five years old ... I'll admit, I do like a good fun fact, but the overall feeling here is that you're moving amongst a mob of word geeks, and that is never a good thing
  • Melody
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely illustrations and great information. Would be a great gift for any nature lover in your life.
  • penny shima glanz
    January 1, 1970
    This is an adorable book that gathers collective nouns of the animal kingdom and pairs them with Sewell’s art. While short, it is a fun and whimsical book that would make a cute gift.This review also appeared at little acorn creations.I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The FTC wants you to know.
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  • Callum McLaughlin
    January 1, 1970
    I feel a bit mean with this rating because the book achieves what it sets out to do perfectly well; with some interesting facts peppered throughout and Sewell's art being very cute and charming. Having read a fair few nature/art books however, I've already come across both writing and artistic styles that I personally prefer.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful pictures. Enjoyable prose. Will be buying more of Matt's books.
  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    First of all the pictures (watercolors) in this book are beautiful! The animals are divided by air, land and water. Some animals have info on how they got their group name. Some talk about how the author thinks they may have gotten their group name. Some contain info about the animal without any info about the group name. I was initially confused if this was a children's book or not...well at least until the mob of emus raided the party and drank all the booze. However, that wouldn't have stoppe First of all the pictures (watercolors) in this book are beautiful! The animals are divided by air, land and water. Some animals have info on how they got their group name. Some talk about how the author thinks they may have gotten their group name. Some contain info about the animal without any info about the group name. I was initially confused if this was a children's book or not...well at least until the mob of emus raided the party and drank all the booze. However, that wouldn't have stopped me from reading it to my son when he was little. I know he would have really enjoyed it- I would have just edited it a little. Maybe the emus would have eaten all the cake. Did I mention how pretty the pictures are?!Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this.
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