Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups

A Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups

Anna Wright
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Charlesbridge, 2015   ISBN: 978-1580897075

Many people are under the impression that animals gather in groups in a rather random fashion. In actual fact, the groups that animals form are rarely random and they have a definite purpose. Sometimes the group members are related, and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are all of one sex, and sometimes there are males and females living together. In each case there is a “unique social order” in place. There are even some animals that prefer to live alone most of the time.

In this interesting picture book the author introduces us to some of the groups that exist in the animal kingdom. We find out what the collective noun is for each group, and we also learn a little about how the members of the group interact.

For example, on the first spread we meet a gaggle of geese. There is a picture of five geese on the page, all which are wonderfully comical, as geese so often are. In the accompanying text we learn that a V of geese in the air is known as a skein, and that the geese in the back of the V, which are the most exposed to attack from predators, honk to encourage the ones in front to hurry up.

A group of penguins is called a parcel and these animals are very social indeed. Penguins always form groups whether they are on land or in the water. Very appropriately, a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance, a name which beautifully compliments the elegant long legs and pink plumage of these water birds. Flamingos are also very sociable and live in large colonies which include many hundreds of birds. Individuals will even pose and march in time to “impress other birds in the colony.”

Birds are not the only animals that form groups. Otters, those clowns of the sea shore, stream, and river, also form groups. Otters are one of the few mammals that will, even when they adults, spend some time each day playing. It is not surprising therefore that a group of otters, which can include a few to several hundred animals, is called a romp.

Throughout this book incredibly beautiful multimedia illustrations are paired with fascinating facts to give young readers a picture of social groups in the animal kingdom.