A Storytelling of Ravens
Written by Kyle Lukoff
Illustrated by Natalie Nelson
Publication Date May 01, 2018
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. Each spread features a nugget of a story using a particular term, which is accompanied by a collage illustration that serves as the visual punch line.
But where did these unusual names come from? Many of them can be traced back to a book on hunting, hawking and heraldry, printed in 1486 — the Book of St. Albans, which has been reproduced many times since.
A Storytelling of Ravens provides a unique opportunity to explore and rejoice in the oddities of the English language.
Kyle Lukoff has worked at the intersection of books and people for over half his life, first as a bookseller and later as a school librarian, reviewer, awards juror, and contributor to professional publications. A Storytelling of Ravens is his first picture book. A confirmed bachelor, Kyle lives in a Brooklyn apartment filled with books.
Natalie Nelson’s illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She is the illustrator of The King of the Birds by Acree Graham Macam, which Booklist reviewed as “nothing short of charming.” She has also illustrated A Storytelling of Ravens by Kyle Lukoff, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Foreword, and Uncle Holland by JonArno Lawson, described by School Library Journal as “sophisticated yet playful.” Natalie lives in Atlanta.
Praise for The King of the Birds, illustrated by Natalie Nelson:
“The story and art are lighthearted and whimsical...” Horn Book
“Delightful illustrations lend humor and charm to an already wonderful story.” Midwest Book Review
“This quirky-but-true story is nothing short of charming.” Booklist
"Offbeat nonsense humor of the highest order: not to be missed." Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"In this charming tribute to the quirkiness of collective nouns, playful artwork and clever captions invite children of all ages to contemplate a variety of amusing scenarios illustrated in bright colors and bold patterns." Foreword, STARRED REVIEW
"Mixed-media graphic style illustrations are humorous and bright. . . . This is a quick read for younger middle grade readers looking for slightly offbeat mysteries. A solid purchase for larger collections." School Library Journal
"The pairing of Kyle Lukoff’s witty wordplay and Natalie Nelson’s colorful, imaginatively detailed illustrations . . . offers a playful exploration . . ." International Literacy Association
"This is a vocabulary exercise of the most delightful kind." The Bitter Southerner
". . . inventive and witty. . . . Children and adults will enjoy this collection." Resource Links