19.03.15 – Spring Literature Review of Animal Rescue from ‘The Literacy Tree’

We are big fans of Patrick George and the effortless way the illustrations work with the paper engineering to tell a story and raise complex issues to young readers in an engaging and ingeniously simple way. Animal Rescue is no different. Opening the first page, we are struck with the image of a tiger-skin rug. Peeling away the acetate overlay, we can free the tiger and return it to its natural habitat, where the clever addition of a smiling face and a poking-out tongue change him instantly from distraught to happy. Of course, the genius of the overlay is that it can easily work the opposite way around, depending upon how we turn the page, smartly raising the issue that it is humans’ own choice to hunt and entrap these beautiful creatures and it is up to us to free them. Whilst the issues are serious, the illustrations are never dark and there is a charm and warmth to George’s block print style. Our personal favourite is the crocodile-skin boot that o-so-cleverly overlays to become its body as we turn the page. With fifty pence from the sale of every book going directly to the Born Free foundation, who can refuse this wonderful text?

05.03.15 – “A great resource for developing visual literacy skills” – Animal Rescue review, Children’s Books Ireland

Clear, uncluttered pictures and a clever design have practically become synonymous with the publishing output of PatrickGeorge. Their latest title, Animal Rescue, doesn’t disappoint. It presents the young reader/listener with a dozen animals put in dire situations through inconsiderate human activities such as intensive fishing, trophy hunting, battery farming, zoo keeping and so on. On each double-page spread, the simple act of turning an acetate page enables the reader/listener to ‘rescue’ an animal by transporting it from, say, its reincarnation as a pair of boots, back to its natural habitat. The best ‘rescues’ are those where you can’t quite guess the end result before you’ve actually turned the page, such as the spread dedicated to the fox.
Wordless, Patrick George’s Animal Rescue avoids being over-didactic by allowing readers to make up their own narratives and draw their own conclusions. This also makes it a great resource for developing visual literacy skills, and works well with the very young.

13.01.15 – ‘Animal Rescue’ by picturebooksblogger

“lives, eats & breathes beautiful picture books”

Animal Rescue by Patrick George allows you, the reader, to become an animal rescue hero.

It’s a gentle, yet incredibly poignant, introduction to the importance of animal welfare for the younger reader and allows them to choose the right habitat for each animal.

Each page is vivaciously vibrant with pops of colour, undoubtedly appealing to young and emerging readers.

This wordless story invites you to be your own narrator and decide upon which words are right for you.

With the simple but ingenious use of transparent pages, it magically transforms the animal from a clearly inappropriate scenario to a much more appropriate habitat to for the animal, in a non-threatening way. With a turn of the the page we can save our living creature from its awful fate.

I shared this book with a group of children aged 4-5 years old and it was a great introduction to animal welfare for a much younger audience.

The simple, clear artwork allowed us to focus on the main point of each page and the children could clearly identify the right and wrong scenario for each animal.

22.09.14 – A preview of the fantastic new ‘Animal Rescue’ book…

Though it’s not released yet (the book has just gone out to print this very week) we were lucky enough to get a preview of the next title from Patrick George and it’s a subject very dear to our hearts. Using that fantastic method of engagement in previous PG books (with transparent pages / overlays that children can ‘flip’ to completely change the story and images) in a rather genius way, Animal Rescue is a fun book with a very serious message.

With 50p from each purchase of the book going to the Born Free Foundation, “Animal Rescue” introduces the subject of animal welfare to children who, at a very early age, can still learn important lessons about how we can work together to conserve species, protect animals and highlight some of the issues the Born Free foundation was first set up for.

Each bold and brilliant page spread (with the acetate overlay pages) works ingeniously to highlight the difference between an animal in captivity / being mistreated, and that animal in its natural habitat or being cared for.

We previewed the book as a PDF copy on the iPad, and even there we could flip between the images to get an overall impression of how it’s all going to work – so it’s easy to imagine the level of engagement from children who are going to absolutely LOVE ‘freeing’ the animals as the book continues.

Both Charlotte and I had our own favourite spreads. Charlotte absolutely loved a spread where a puppy is seen unceremoniously dumped in a dustbin, out in the rain while a lonely little girl sits at home. Flipping the page cleverly overlays puppy on girl’s shoulder for a big cuddle! Awww!

I thought the Killer Whale spread was extremely well observed and timely too.

The fact that the book contributes to such a worthy cause is fantastic. It’s something that does stick in the mind too even if your children are fairly young, and it has struck a chord with Charlotte – who absolutely loves animals and is old enough to think about the message the book gently (but expertly) conveys without being too disturbing or jarring.

It’s all so brilliantly done and we can’t stop gushing about it, so can’t wait for finished copies to arrive in little laps. If you’ve seen our previous reviews of The Book of the Five Senses and also When I grow up you’ll already be hopping up and down with excitement about “Animal Rescue”.

Available very soon from Patrick George Publishing. Don’t miss it!

28.04.14 – “When I grow up…” The School Librarian, Spring 2014

A very simple idea cleverly executed and with a brand new slant. The endpapers, depicting a cityscape at night, have some very unexpected silhouettes that catch the eye: What’s Superman doing holding up the moon? What’s that giraffe doing there? Where’s that rocket shooting off to? What’s a sailing ship doing in the middle of the city? Aha, these are all clues to the choices the characters will make as we turn the pages of the book. Once inside, more unexpected things occur. Transparent sheets bring surprise after surprise as shopping bags become aprons, car bumpers become Superman’s mask, tennis nets become headbands.

The children featured in this book do not restrict themselves to your average aspirations such as train drivers, secretaries, builders, teachers nurses: they are far more imaginative than that. They want to be artists, scientists, superheroes, film stars, pilots, tennis players, pirates, zookeepers, astronauts and clowns.

There are opportunities galore for follow-up activities: paired reading, older pupils working with younger ones to make their own book, making lists of the pros and cons of various jobs, interviewing parents and people from the local community about their jobs, inviting the school caretaker to talk about his or her job, making a class book about hopes for the future… and so on.

21.03.14 – When I grow up – ‘the orange cream of Revels’


PatrickGeorge’s When I Grow Up – to stick with the Revels metaphor for a bit longer – is the orange creme of Revels. It’s a lovely book, satisfying, beautifully illustrated and with a rather neat little twist for youngsters who love their picture books. In each spread, detailing lots of different jobs and careers little ones might want to turn their attention to when they’re older, transparent pages fold over to complete a picture, neatly transforming the person into what they want to be.

10.12.13 – The Independent on Sunday picks the season’s best picture books: When I grow up… is featured

The Independent on Sunday began a three-part series on children’s books for Christmas on Sunday 8th December. We were thrilled to see ‘When I grow up…’ featured with cover image. The book is described as being crammed full of the best sort of surprises and “Strong transparent pages, once turned, do wonders with what comes before and after”.

15.11.13 – thebabywebsite.com 5 star review for When I grow up…

“Fantastic book”

This is a great book and fantastic for children’s imagination! Both my 3 and 5 year old enjoyed this book! The transparent pages are different from other books which made this book more interesting and the colours are bright and engaging! I found this book good value for money and would definitely recommend it to small children. My daughters talked about it all afternoon and what they wanted to be when they grew up!

20.06.13 – School Library Journal review of the 5 senses books

School Library Journal (US): “[a] lively series. . .bright graphic introductions.”
July, 2013

PreS-Gr 1 Each title in this lively series focuses on one specific sense within a repetitive format. A first-person description starts the interactions; for example, I Hear… “…a bee buzzing/…a bird singing/…thunder crashing/…drums banging,” etc. A transparent page inserted within the book contains one reversible object and influences both sides of the illustration. In I See…, a plane on the page “far” appears in a window from a distance as a child looks on; to exemplify the term “near,” the plane rests on a person’s hand. Thick black lines enhance blocky shapes against bold, stark backgrounds with quite clever visual results. In the third book, the words, “I smell…” begin the text while succinct phrases are used to describe familiar aromas, “…cakes baking/…dinner burning!” While some items convey pleasing scents, other examples elicit not so favorable responses. The picture of the skunk provides this disclaimer: “…awful. Keep away!” A disgruntled bear with an image of a person on its snout accompanies the caption, “…YOU from far, far away!” All in all, these are bright graphic introductions.
Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC

14.05.13 – ‘I See…’ received a starred review in the May 13, 2013 issue of Publishers Weekly


In this sight-themed offering from this U.K.-based husband-and-wife design team, brief phrases continue the trailing sentence begun by the book’s title, accompanied by bold, graphic imagery. A black-on-red silhouette of a hand grasping a magnifying glass enlarges one of a dozen beetles (“…bigger through this”), while a transparent insert moves a pair of glasses from atop a small girl’s head to an older gentleman’s face (“And I can see… your smile!”). Visual cleverness is evident throughout (bats and clouds form an Escher-like pattern; a pair of “dark tunnels” resemble a face, complete with mischievous eyelashes), making this a delightful introduction to one of the five senses. Simultaneously available: I Smell…, I Taste…, I Hear…, I Touch… Ages 3–5.

12.02.13 – A review for A shiver of sharks in Publishers Weekly 25.01.13


A Shiver of Sharks: A Compilation of Aquatic Collective Nouns. PatrickGeorge. PatrickGeorge (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $10.99 paper (48p) ISBN 978-1-908473-01-1. This husband-and-wife design team returns with another tribute to collective nouns, this one focusing on aquatic creatures. An “array of eels” hangs like neckties from a hanger; for a “school of whales,” a scholarly figure with a graduation cap and glasses has a mustache formed by a whale’s tail (an image that previously appeared in this duo’s A Filth of Starlings); and nine otters are recast as logs to make up a “raft.” As with this team’s earlier books, readers will enjoy puzzling out how the pictures and collective nouns experiment with meaning in both literal and figurative senses. Simultaneously available: A Crackle of Crickets: A Compilation of Insect Collective Nouns. Ages 7–up. (Feb.)

06.02.13 – The School Librarian Winter 2012 review of the 5 senses books


More from the startlingly good design and age appropriate presentation from the ‘cottage publishing’ enterprise of PatrickGeorge comes as books aimed at 3+ but perfect for the youngest classes in schools. A series of five books devoted to the senses, a common and necessary topic, have simple phrases and fine witty illustrations and page creation. The two examples I’ve seen, See… and Taste…, each also have a couple of transparent acetate turnover pages. Both would raise awareness and both could well be used as a basis for group discussions.

06.11.12 – Carousel: the guide to children’s books

I See…
“This book is one from a series of light-hearted and bold titles which aim to help very young children become more aware of their own five senses. From a small, most innovative publishing house, the book becomes a visual voyage of discovery with eye catching colour, distinctive shapes and lovely up and down directions. Clear transparent sheets are overlaid on some illustrations and introduce a surprise. Great fun in a simple yet deceptively clever book.”

09.10.12 – Recommended Reads (CBI) Ireland 2012

I See…
“This is one in a series of five books designed to help young children explore the five senses. The illustrations, which are simple and colourful, are focused on investigating different ways of seeing in a fun and imaginative manner. Ideas like reflections, magnification and illusion are examined in the bright pictures that contain plenty of potential for discussion.”

15.04.12 – ‘Playing by the book’ reviews acetate book series

On becoming curious again
Books which introduce babies and the youngest of kids to basic concepts such as colours, shapes, numbers and opposites are ten-a-penny, so when one comes along that takes you by surprise and makes you look afresh at these basic concepts again, you sit up and take notice.

Publisher PatrickGeorge has created not one, but four books based on these basic concepts which do exactly that; they make you curious once more.

All four books share a basic ‘trick’; paper pages are interleaved with partially transparent acetate pages. By turning over the acetate page, the images on the adjacent paper pages change.

For example, in Numbers the reader rescues a fly on each page when counting up the numbers:

Before the acetate page is turned it looks like one fly is about to be eaten by a fish.

The acetate page is turned, and in doing so the fly is rescued from the mouth of the fish, and counting up to six is completed.

How fun for the kid reader to be the rescuing hero! I also like how turning the acetate page focuses attention on counting the final number; rather than the adult or child simply counting by rote, the page turn makes the reader pause to physically add the final fly to the tally.

In Opposites much of the fun comes from optical illusions; a large ball held in the arms of a child becomes a small ball held between finger and thumb, or an arrow seems to move across the page, first missing its target, then hitting it.

Before you turn the acetate page, the tear looks like a drop of water

Turn the acetate page and the tear is no long a drop of water, but rather, a flame

The design is innovative, the bright, bold illustrations are eyecatching, and most importantly, these books make learning about basic concepts a great deal of fun. Not just for the child, but also for the adult reading and re-reading these books with their kids.

The physical play aspect of these books reminded me of one of last year’s most widely acclaimed picture books – Press Here by Hervé Tullet (which I reviewed here). As with Tullet’s book, so with these books by PatrickGeorge: reading becomes an active-ity (forgive the deliberate misspelling) without anything electronic anywhere in sight. These books create conversations and spark interest.

Unfortunately, each book comes with a compulsory EU warning that states it is “Not for children under 3 years” because technically the acetate represents a choking hazard. Given that these books are ideal for parents with very young children, it is such a shame that these books are required to include this warning. I wanted to give a copy of these books to a local playgroup, but this warning means they do not wish to accept them (even though parents with an ounce of common sense will not be worried at all by the risks theoretically posed). PatrickGeorge have assured me that the inclusion of the warning is merely a formality and that the books have all been safety-checked and passed. Perhaps this warning can have a silver lining though? The books are so stylish and beautifully produced they will appeal to readers who have long since learned their numbers and colours. In fact, they’ll appeal to anyone who likes thoughtful, ingenious and smart books.
Read full article here

23.01.12 – Parents In Touch reviews Numbers and Opposites

Numbers by PatrickGeorge
I love this innovative and unusual series from PatrickGeorge. Each double page spread is separated by an acetate sheet – turning the sheet completely transforms the picture, often in a very amusing fashion. They give endless scope for discussion. Numbers is bold and bright – the eye-catching illustrations will attract young children’s attention. Ten fat flies flying around are gradually reduced to one – I love the clever twist whereby you can work out just where each fly went! A lovely book.

Opposites by PatrickGeorge
Opposites is just the right topic for this book from PatrickGeorge. 11 pairs of opposites each with a clear, acetate sheet between them which you flip to see the opposite. An apparently simple concept which works remarkably well. I think my favourite has to be the the bus queue for first and last, closely followed by the parrot in (or out) of his cage.The bold uncluttered illustrations are ideal for young children, who will find hours of entertainment in this book.

28.11.11 – Sunday Telegraph reviews ‘Shapes’

“The simple device of an acetate page between each spread turns ‘Shapes’ (PatrickGeorge, £8.99) from a concept book for toddlers into something special. A semicircle that is a whale on one page flips over to become a railway tunnel, a green triangle becomes a tree that turns into a yellow pyramid. Hypnotically absorbing.”

Sunday Telegraph, 27 November 2011, ‘Books for Christmas: Children’

03.10.11 – TheBabyWebsite.com reviews ‘Shapes’ and ‘Colours’

Overall score:
“A unique and interesting way of discovering colours”
I am the kind of mum who likes a bargain and where possible I will buy things second hand especially books. However there are a few books I buy new because they are such genuinely interesting books which really appeal to children that I want to add my number to sales figures. The Hungry Caterpillar and Each Peach Pear Plum are two that fall into this category and I feel this book should be included in that group too. I have a four year old daughter, a two year old son and an 11month old baby boy. All of them enjoyed going through this book for different reasons. The baby on discovering pretty colours and animals/objects, the toddler taking the next step onto naming those colours and objects, then my school age daughter taking it to another level by discussing how the colours apparently change and what happens when certain colours are mixed. Even I was sucked in on seeing it because it is a genuinely beautiful book, so bright and inviting and with a nice little surprise which in nearly 5yrs of mother hood I have never seen before.

I have already recommended this to my friends, or I should say it recommended itself as my toddler has been showing it to anyone who has entered my house.
Member review by Lemise – Busy mum of three under fives – review date 30th September 2011

Overall score:
“Gorgeous book”
From the minute we got the book my daughter has not put it down. It is beautifully done with bright colourful pictures that draw the child in (and the parents!!). Very cleverly designed with see through pages that change the pictures on the other pages. would recommend especially with Christmas coming up. Fantastic book.
Member review by Courteney – mum to 3 children with 4th on way – review date 29th September 2011

26.09.11 – Library Mice reviews ‘Colours’ and ‘Shapes’

I had really enjoyed Opposites (see my review here) which introduced me to PatrickGeorge’s beautifully designed books and their utterly original use of acetate paper to create visual tricks and effects. The following titles have just been released and are based on the same principle, making full use of the double page and using acetate paper to transform the illustrations.

Through the use of specifically coloured shapes on acetate paper, Colours not only introduce colours to young readers but also the notion of colour mixing. For example the use of a blue shape on the acetate in the double spread below not only allows to create a bear and a frog but also to alter the colours on the page – orange becomes brown, yellow becomes green:

There is a lot not only to see but to discuss with young readers, as one discovers how colours interact with one another. It is fascinating and will appeal well beyond the targeted age as a straight-forward introduction to colour mixing.

Rather than be a series of unconnected double-spreads, Shapes offers a narrative, as we follow a gift (a red square) from the airport all the way to its recipient and the discovery of what is hiding inside. The use of shapes on acetate here facilitates, and is part of, the storytelling. For example in the double spread below, we can see the truck transporting the gift driving past a pyramid, created by a triangle on the acetate, which then turns into a tree as the landscape changes on the next page:

This works beautifully and the story really needs no words. If anything, it encourages further interaction with the artwork by allowing young audiences and adult readers to make up their own stories. Shapes will also be a real treat for little readers who are keen on transport vehicles as there is a whole selection in this book.

Shapes and Colours might be suitable for 3+, but as with Opposites, their appeal goes way beyond that. Both my children are mesmerised by the visual tricks that the acetate paper facilitates. The combination of contemporary graphic design with child-friendly themes make these books particularly successful. They are beautiful enough that older children and adults will be find them attractive but the use of teddy bears, ice-cream and others will allow them to appeal to the targeted audience. Both books very much encourage interaction between adult and child and although many children will enjoy reading the books and experimenting with the acetate on their own, I think they also offer a great sharing experience.

I don’t think there is anything else quite like PatrickGeorge’s books. This is one independent publisher which will go a long way.

13.06.11 – Junior magazine – July 2011

On the flip side
Sometimes, altering one little detail is all it takes to make everything go topsy turvy. That’s the premise on which ‘Opposites’, created by design company PatrickGeorge (£5.99), works to ingenious effect. Each spread has a sheet of acetate with a design printed on it. Flip it one way and you get one idea, flip it another and you get the opposites. For example, for ‘sun’ there’s a pair relaxing in loungers under a shady parasol. Move the acetate sheet and that parasol transforms into an umbrella to keep off the rain. It’s a fun way to introduce your child to the popular concept of opposites – and the powers of visual trickery.

28.04.11 – Publishers Weekly (US edition) – April 4, 2011


A Filth of Starlings: A Compilation of Bird and Aquatic Animal Group Names
PatrickGeorge. PatrickGeorge (IPG/Trafalgar, dist.), $12.99 paper (48p) ISBN 978-0-9562558-1-5
Stylish, high-contrast digital graphics (mostly silhouettes) from a British design firm playfully portray collective nouns for various animals, while brief, lyrical passages describe each specimen’s physical characteristics and behaviors. ‘A fever of stingrays’ is sleekly envisioned as a white thermometer, in which a red ray’s tail becomes the rising mercury. On another spread, a whale’s tail becomes a professorial figure’s mustache (he wears a graduation cap and glasses) for a ‘school of whales,’ and a tessellated design suggestive of Escher allows a ‘descent’ of abstracted woodpeckers to become a staircase. It’s a thoughtful and well-executed project, and readers should find the ways in which the names mimic and relate to their subjects illuminating. Available simultaneously: A Drove of Bullocks. Ages 7–up. (May)

05.04.11 – The School Librarian, Spring 2011


Opposites by PatrickGeorge
This is a beautifully produced book, aimed at toddlers, and those just beginning their adventure with books. It comes from an imprint fast making a name for itself in the design and production of books for this age range. This one, a witty and challenging exploration of the concept of opposites, follows on the heels of the highly successful nursery rhymes from the same imprint.

At just a little over A5, this book is perfectly sized for small hands, and explores almost wordlessly, the concepts of opposites such as hot, cold, big, small, up, down, first, last etc. illustrated in large flat areas of colour, clear simple diagrammatic drawings with just one word in bold on each page, creates a vibrancy of design and colour which is most attractive.

To allow the reader to explore and interact with the ideas in the book, the authors use see through pages imprinted with objects such as a tear drop shape which, when flipped over the candle page, translates into a flame, or, flipped over the opposite tap page, translates into a drip of water, thus creating endless points for discussion and interaction. This is an inspiring book, imaginatively produced and developed to engage and enrich young minds, don’t miss it!

15.12.10 – PrintWeek December 2010: The Power of print

Push back the creative boundaries
Print may not have the ‘geek appeal’ of the latest digital multimedia toys, but from a creative point of view, the field has never been more exciting.

Children’s books
Peter and Ann Scott, who work as PatrickGeorge, are a creative husband and wife team who publish their own children’s books from an office in Ramsgate, Kent. Past efforts include the self-published A drove of bullocks and A filth of starlings but it’s their fifth and latest title, Opposites, that has seen them put a different visual twist to the PatrickGeorge approach. The book contains 11 double-page spreads of simple opposites or contrasting ideas (for example up-down; big-small; girl-boy; land-sea) with a 0.12mm clear PVC acetate sheet between each spread with a simple graphic printed onto it. That graphic, flipped from left to right, reveals the opposite. For example, the cover shows a candle (hot) and a tap (cold), with a blue tear shaped drop printed on the acetate. When flipped to the left, the drop becomes a candle flame and, against a deep orange background, the drop turns a warm colour. Flipped to the right, against a white background, it becomes the drip of water from a tap. The pair printed 5,000 litho copies of the book in China through World Print.

10.10.10 – Review of Opposites by Nikki Gamble

PatrickGeorge are quickly establishing themselves as a publisher of innovative, stylish graphic books with high production values.

The latest title ‘Opposites’ makes excellent use of the double page spread and flip over acetate to delight readers with a clever take on the concept of ‘opposite’. A big ball larger than a child becomes a small ball held between thumb and forefinger; an arrow pointing to the left becomes an arrow pointing to the right; a hot flame on a candle becomes a cold drip from a blue tap.

As a concept book, I would perhaps question some of the concepts: is rain actually the opposite of sunshine? But the effects are so cleverly achieved that I was more intrigued by the visual playfulness, than concerned about the conceptual accuracy. In truth I would be most inclined to share this book with older readers(9+) with a view to talking about colour, design and typography.

It’s good to see novelty features adding value to the text: the use of acetate is particularly apposite to the subject of this book. Too often flaps, pop-ups and other novelties are used routinely and unimaginatively. I look forward to seeing what Patrick George produce next. I hope they will continue to surprise and delight by finding innovative ways of expressing their ideas.

Nikki Gamble, Write Away

16.07.10 – Review in The School Librarian – Summer 2010


Little Miss Muffet and Other Rhymes
This book is a real treat for us adults as well as children: it’s very attractive, but also interactive and entertaining to keep younger audiences interested, whilst at the same time providing a great, educational tool for teachers.

At the turn of each page, there is a modern, boldly designed and coloured take on a traditional nursery rhyme – from family favourites to first-timers – which will challenge, reward and even surprise children. These rhymes can be played on fingers and toes, sung out loud and looked at again and again.

Significantly, this delightful, wittily, sophisticated collection of graphics is a book for reading together with young children. Likewise it is designed to encourage conversation and visual interaction.

09.07.10 – Junior magazine August 2010 edition

Wise words
If you find yourself languishing in heavy traffic during your family’s summer getaway, your brood could do a lot worse than crib up on some of the more unusual names bestowed on the fair creatures of our planet, courtesy of the delightful book A drove of bullocks (PatrickGeorge, £9.99). Ever heard of a kaleidoscope of butterflies? How about the loveliness of ladybirds? Who knows, this could be the nugget that clinches it when your child is competing on a future edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? And how about creating some of your own monikers? A collection of talkative pensioners alighting from the coach at the services – a chattering, perhaps? And those pesky road cones barring your entry to the outer lane? Surely a battalion.

29.06.10 – INIS – the Children’s Books Ireland magazine – Summer 2010 edition


(Editor’s choice: ‘Reviews’ section ages 5 – 7)

A filth of starlings and A drove of bullocks are charming and informative picture books that introduce the reader to the weird and wonderful group names of animals, insects, birds and aquatic creatures. Everybody has heard of a school of whales but what about a dazzle of zebras or a quiver of cobras?

Each double-page spread illustrates a different animal group with a bold visual pun. A pride of lions is depicted with a yellow rosette that upon closer inspection forms the shape of a lion. These are picture books for a technologically savvy generation. A pod of dolphins is humorously depicted by dolphins listening to iPods.

For every graphic there is a complementary, unobtrusive, bite-size chunk of text providing information about the animal in question. The text gives a few interesting facts that spark curiosity without overwhelming detail. It also plays on the relationship between each animal and its collective noun, highlighting the animal’s personality or habits. In a ‘parliament of owls’ we are told that ‘calling and answering each other across the forest floor, the wise owls debate the issues of the night’.

The vocabulary is often quite sophisticated, however, and words like ‘ubiquitous’ and ‘ostentatious’ may be challenging for some readers. These books are attractive and cleverly presented and there is a lot of fun and discussion to be had trying to interpret the pictures.
Emily McClave

26.03.10 – Design Week preview of What’s in a name?

Name check
Fri, 26 Mar 2010 | By Anna Richardson

Oh, the joy of simple graphic representations. When they involve an effortless play on words, quirky typography and a dollop of humour, they are pure pleasure.

Next month, design consultancy PatrickGeorge is publishing What’s in a name?, a collection of graphic interpretations of 100 boys’ and 100 girls’ names.

From Aaron to Will and Angie to Wendy, the names get an illustrative treatment by PatrickGeorge founder Peter Scott. They are revealed in a realignment of their letters, visually represented or just implied – making some enjoyably obvious and others tantalisingly obscure.

“One day I downloaded a list of names and took it from there,” says Scott. “I would work my way methodically down the list looking at the letters rather than the name itself. I wanted to keep it light and would sketch out the first thing that came into my head.” Some of the finished graphics were done in minutes, he explains, while others “kept me occupied for hours”.

19.03.10 – The Prep School magazine

PatrickGeorge have managed the tricky feat of combining a useful addition to the classroom with some sharp wit and excellent illustrations. A filth of starlings and A drove of bullocks are two visually arresting volumes compiling collective nouns for birds and fish and animals…

11.03.10 – The United Kingdom Literary Association newsletter

We had another mention in the UK Literacy Association Spring newsletter for A drove of bullocks and A filth of starlings. In the section entitled ‘Books to support writing’ they say:

“Here are just a few of the many books – new and old – that provide support and ideas for writing for teachers and children….for example you will probably all have Exciting Writing by Jacqueline Harriet and the two wonderful word books ‘A filth of starlings’ and ‘A drove of bullocks’.”

11.03.10 – Books For Keeps reviews Little Miss Muffet and other rhymes

Divergent, playful, innovative, quirky, expansive, are just a handful of the many adjectives that spring to mind after a first perusal of this deceptively simple book of rhymes. Small in format it may be but each of the twenty or so offerings – an eclectic mix of traditional nursery rhymes including ‘Humpty Dumpty’, ‘Little Miss Muffet’ and ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, oddities such as ‘Daisy Daisy’, ‘Old Mr Match’ and the infant child-devouring ‘Grizzly Bear’ presented on that small screen, enlarge our perspective of the rhyme obliging the reader to look at it in an entirely new way. Thus “Humpty Dumpty’ is presented merely as T U M P H Y while ‘Pease Pudding’ is three white circles containing red matter, blue matter, and green matter with a spoon strategically angled on the third to become part of the text of the last line.

A fascinating book for all ages especially those with an interest in design and graphics.

08.03.10 – KK Outlet

“Just like my first Star Trek film, I couldn’t take my eyes off this book (A filth of starlings). Designed and created by PatrickGeorge this book not only teaches you about animal group names, it also has some beautiful design ideas in every page.”
By Blake Waters, copywriter, KK Outlet.

KK Outlet is a multifunctional office combining a communications agency with a shop and gallery space. It was set up in 2007 by the Amsterdam based communications agency KesselsKramer.

05.11.09 – The Times

Amanda Craig reviews two children’s books with magical illustrations

A filth of starlings and A drove of bullocks are compilations of animal group names, brilliantly exploited by PatrickGeorge. If you think that these are too sophisticated for a child of 6+, think again. From a parliament of owls, whose eyes are made up of two Big Ben clock faces, to a pod of dolphins (listening to iPods), a school of whales (a schoolmasterly face with a whale’s tail forming moustache and tie), these are stylish, witty visual puns. They are books to read and explain, but the elegance with which each picture is drawn would work on T-shirts or calendars.

04.11.09 – Christmas supplement to Carousel guide to children’s books, Autumn 2009

There is a wonderful, uninhibited, colourful approach to these compilations of collective nouns. Full of charm and wit, the lively pictures are fun for all the family and immensely stimulating for young artists. The text is informative and accessible – some of the group names are very well known, but I’m certain you will enjoy the more fanciful ones. Challenge your Christmas Party guests to identify the illustrations!

02.11.09 – The United Kingdom Literary Association newsletter

This year’s UKLA International Conference theme was ‘Making Connections: Building literate communities in and beyond the classroom’. Our books, which were for sale at the conference bookshop, inspired the following review in the current UKLA newsletter.

“For children (and all teachers of literacy and/art) there were two beautifully produced books about words, images and colours which defy description. A filth of starlings and A drove of bullocks (both published by PatrickGeorge) are well worth seeking out. They could inspire magical language or art work with youngsters as well as being absorbing to read alone or – better still – alongside a friend to share thoughts about each page.”

30.10.09 – Derek Birdsall RDI

“Following in the tradition of Lionni, Rand and Chermayeff, these books (A drove of bullocks and A filth of starlings) are finally designed for today’s younger generation and not least some adults.”

21.10.09 – Wendy Cooling MBE

“Collective nouns have always been slightly crazy but two great new books, A filth of starlings and A drove of bullocks take it all a step further. These splendidly designed books are for art departments as well as English departments and should be in every school – yes, secondary too. The stunningly original graphics illustrate collective nouns old and new – I love ‘A flamboyance of flamingos’ and ‘An implausibility of gnus’ and, and… How rare it is to find books that are a joy to browse through, that can be looked at again and again – and if learning there must be, are great for growing vocabulary and creative thinking.”

Wendy is a children’s book author and founder of Bookstart, a national programme which gives free books to every child in the UK. She is also winner of the Eleanor Farjeon award, given in recognition of an individual’s contribution to the world of children’s books. In addition to being an author, editor, and reviewer, Wendy Cooling is a well-known consultant in the field of children’s literacy, and she often appears as a guest on radio and television programmes to discuss children’s literature.

01.09.09 – The School Librarian, Autumn 2009

Far too often my phone rings and a voice says ‘I’ve written a book for children and…’ and… and I know it is privately published, or vanity-publisher produced, effort which more often than not is poorly edited, not at all attractively set out and of far less value to the world than in the author’s own estimation. But very occasionally what arrives can be an absolute gem. These two books (A drove of bullocks and A filth of starlings) are wonderful, fresh looking with exemplary design, layout and print and with stunning quality colours. And yes they are ‘privately’ conceived, created and produced, by a husband and wife team with their own group-of-two name of PatrickGeorge. Within both books each double-page spread is devoted to a collective noun for a group of creatures and all are accurate and true however unlikely some might appear at first. Each has a graphic representation of the collective phrase and each of these is brilliant, bold, delightful, clever, funny and very, very witty. Each has a short paragraph of explanation and enlargement on the lower left-hand of the pages with a silhouette of the animal featured. The overall effect is visually highly attractive and so almost impossible to convey in a verbal descriptive piece, hence the illustration to accompany this review.

The few words are very well phrased so that, for example, ‘A litter of kittens’ has these cosy, soft pets ‘purring, kneading and trusting’ with, of course, the middle one of these three, the paw/claw settling movement, pronounced as needing when read aloud. Whilst I could think of so many uses with these books in both primary and secondary schools the main focus has to be on sheer enjoyment, they are such fun! The pair of them make for a real duo of delights, and to cap it all I understand that currently school or school library direct sales are at a cost of £6.99 each. Irresistible – put them near the top of any acquisitions shortlist – buy them.

01.07.09 – Chris Brown, Winner of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for 2008

“Your two books (A drove of bullocks and A filth of starlings) are stunning, gorgeous, and tremendously appealing…the quality of the design and the colour printing is superb. The words for each ‘entry’ are so unusually precise and yet brilliantly expansive in effect. And the whole thing is so witty.”

PatrickGeorge 2009-2018