About this book
A Storytelling of Ravens
Kyle Lukoff • Natalie Nelson
“A charming tribute to the quirkiness of collective nouns … puns and wordplay abound.” — Foreword, starred review
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.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
About the Creators
Kyle Lukoff has worked at the intersection of books and people for more than half his life, first as a bookseller and later as a school librarian, reviewer, awards juror and contributor to professional publications. His first picture book, A Storytelling of Ravens, illustrated by Natalie Nelson, received two starred reviews and his second, When Aidan Became a Brother was described as “joyful and affirming” in a Kirkus starred review and has received three other starred reviews. 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 proclaimed “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.” This is the first book she has written and illustrated. Natalie lives in Atlanta.
Awards and Praise
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