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We're all familiar with `a flock of sheep' but what are the collective nouns for racehorses, pigs, zebras or giraffes? Drawing on a range of sources, from fifteenth-century hunting terms to more recent inventions that have now entered the language, this book collects over 100 examples of the most interesting collective nouns for animals, each illustrated with charming woodcuts by the renowned naturalist engraver of the eighteenth century, Thomas Bewick. Some describe a key characteristic of the animal in question: `a shrewdness of apes', `a busyness of ferrets'. Others are delightfully humorous: `a piddle of puppies', `a crash of rhinoceroses'. Featuring pets, farmyard animals, big cats and wild beasts, this beautifully presented book is the perfect gift for animal lovers and all those with an interest in this quirky linguistic tradition.
`A murder of crows', `a charm of goldfinches', `an ostentation of peacocks': collective nouns for British birds have existed since at least the mid fifteenth century. They are thought to originate in texts about hunting, but have since evolved into evocative, witty and literary expressions, each striving to capture the very essence of the animal they describe. Some are portentous - `a conspiracy of ravens' perfectly evokes this sinister bird - others convey sound, such as `a murmuration of starlings' or `a chattering of choughs'. Yet more reflect with a flourish the beauty of the bird itself: what could be more celebratory than `a crown of kingfishers', or `an exaltation of larks'? The best of these imaginative expressions are collected here, illustrated with charming woodcuts by Thomas Bewick, the renowned naturalist engraver of the eighteenth century. Featuring songbirds, aquatic birds, birds of prey and garden favourites, this beautifully presented book will delight both bird-lovers and word-lovers in equal measure.
A classic picture of the rural past in a remote Suffolk village, revealed in the conversations of old people who recall harvest customs, home crafts, poetic usages in dialect, old farm tools, smugglers' tales, and rural customs and beliefs going back to the time of Chaucer.
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children is a treasury of great poems chosen for the sheer pleasure they offer to readers of all ages. Compiler Gillian Avery's aim was to avoid condescending to children and "to assemble a collection of poems that the owner will not outgrow." With that in mind, she has included very few works that were written solely for a young audience. The more than 250 pieces gathered here range from ballads to epics, from inspired nonsense to memorable reflections on love and death. A wide variety of poets grace these pages, from Mother Goose to Shakespeare, from Emily Dickinson to Noel Coward, from Robert Frost to Ogden Nash. Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" and Rosetti's "Goblin Market" will enchant young readers as much as T. S. Eliot's "The Naming of Cats" and Lewis Carroll's "The Mock-Turtle's Song" will entertain them. Adorned with engravings by the eighteenth-century artist Thomas Bewick, this collection belongs in every family's library.
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