Publishers Weekly Review
Despite its arresting cover and its focus on animal poems, this collection lacks consistency. The 14 poems highlight intriguing collective nouns and alternate between clever descriptions of real-life animals and off-the-wall fantasies about them. But often the poems' meters are wobbly, the conceits are labored, and the rhymes are off-center or forced. Likewise, Huber's intricate scratchboard illustrations, most of them enhanced with colored ink, are unevenly executed. They marvelously capture the delicate veins in a "charm of butterflies," the bold black-and-white designs contained in a "crossing of zebras" and the terror of a scarecrow confronting a "murder of crows." But when depicting other animals, like "a pounce of alley cats" or the armor-clad "crash of rhinos," the figures seem rigid and awkward. Sometimes the illustrations do not match a poem's content--only 17 of the author's 22 "cartload of monkeys" are shown, and the "band of coyotes"giving a 1960s "psychedelic" concert "talking 'bout my generation" include, oddly, members tooting a kazoo and a hunting horn. A note from the author explains the etymologies of some favorite collective nouns. Patricia MacCarthy's unfortunately out-of-print Herds of Words remains the exemplar of this concept. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal Review
Gr 2-5-Starting with evocative collective animal nouns, such as a "tower of giraffes" and a "charm of butterflies," Maddox offers 14 brief poems. Teachers will appreciate the use of alliterative language, imagery, and lighter-than-air whimsy. In "A Rumba of Rattlesnakes," for example, the poet conjures up an image of the animals' dangerous, hypnotic dance with crisp rhythm and wordplay: "They rattle maracas and rat-tat on drums,/blow on tin trumpets, uncurl their tongues." Huber's appealing scratchboard with colored-ink illustrations add texture, color, and fanciful detail. An author's note gives some of the history behind the development and use of collective nouns. An enticing treat for would-be wordsmiths and animal lovers, this short collection will also make an excellent read-aloud.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.