Perhaps because they offer such a mix of the obvious and the unexpected, lists of the collective nouns we use to refer to animals are endlessly entertaining. A Troop is a Group of Monkey‘s uses the comedy and absurdity inherent in these words as the premise for a new children’s storybook app for iPad from Little Bahalia Publishing.
The result is playful, sonorous, and surprising. Yes, Virginia, it really is called a bloat of hippomatomi.
Written by Julie Hedlund, with vibrant, yet realistic illustrations by Pamela Baron, the app also features original music by Tim McCanna. Geared toward 6 to 10-year-olds, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys takes full advantage of the alliterative nature of these terms, or it inserts synchronous sounds wherever they are missing.
The reader can choose between narration and read-to-self modes. As the reader progresses through the pages there are chances to interact with the animals. Skunks spray and peacocks spread their plumes.
The terms we use to describe groups of animals are a simple way to introduce not only the grammatical concept of a plural noun, but many of the terms are descriptive of an aspect of the animal. Sometimes, as with an kaleidoscope of butterflies, it’s easy to make the conceptual leap between the collective noun and the animal. Other times, as with a quiver of snakes, the connection is more symbolic. Then there are a few, such as a sleuth of bears, that border on non-sensical.
Download A Troop is a Group of Monkeys from the App Store for $1.99.
What I liked: The original song, which plays at the end of the app, sets the words of the story to music, and adds the perfect finishing touch to a child’s reading experience. An instrumental version of the tune plays throughout the app, though it is easy to mute the music from the splash screen.
What I didn’t like: Nothing!
To buy or not to buy: Children who love animals or enjoy playing with language will love reading A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. The story also offers teachers or parents a fun way to introduce the concept of collective nouns.
- App Name: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Books
- Developer: Little Bahalia
- Price: $1.99