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A Troop is a Group of Monkeys December 13, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Writing & Writers.

Guest Post by Julie Hedlund

First, I want to thank Nancy for hosting me today.  It is an honor to be here, as Nancy was one of my first blog followers and has remained one of my most dedicated.  I love Nancy’s philosophy of “be an artist… live by your own rules,” because that is precisely what I decided to do two years ago when I left my well-paying, stable job to pursue my dream of writing.

Although I write in several genres, I’m here as part of an impromptu blog tour to build awareness of a picture book I wrote, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, which I have entered in a Children’s Author Challenge with e-Publisher MeeGenius.

One reason I love this story is because it teaches kids some collective nouns for groups of animals. I had so much fun researching this book!

I’d heard of a pack of wolves, a herd of buffalo and a pride of lions.  But a float of crocodiles? An ostentation of peacocks?  Those were entirely new and fun to discover.  I also loved the fact that the group names tended to describe either the animal’s appearance or behavior.  So I decided to write the story as a way to teach both the collective nouns and one fact about each of the animals.

Besides the fun factor, another reason I wrote the book was to promote love and respect for wildlife.  At the end of the story, I call for kids to remember that these animals must live on the same earth we do. You first have to teach children to respect and appreciate nature.  Then you can show them how our actions impact the earth and the creatures who share it with us.

Although I am currently pre-published, I’ve always wanted to use my writing as a springboard for giving back.  If I win this contest and get the book published, I plan to provide an unlimited number of FREE author visits to schools all across my kids’ school district, as well as in my hometown in the state of Michigan.  I know first-hand how much schools are struggling with budgets these days, and bringing an author in for a visit is a luxury many of them cannot afford.  A few author visits may be a drop in the overall bucket, but it IS something in my power to do.

Once again, my deepest thanks to Nancy for having me today and to YOU for reading!

Thanks, Julie!  

Julie Hedlund blogs about the writing life (and regular life) at Julie Hedlund’s Blog.  She writes picture books, travel articles and personal essays and WILL write a novel one day.  When she is not mothering, writing or reading, she enjoys running, hiking, skiing, cooking, yoga, and savoring a great glass of red wine at sunset.  She especially likes to do these things while traveling.


1. Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks for having me Nancy! I’ll check in throughout the day in case anyone has questions for me. I so appreciate your support!

nrhatch - December 13, 2011

Thanks, Julie! Your book is darling . . . and I wish you the best of luck with the MeeGenius challenge. 😀

2. elizabethannewrites - December 13, 2011

Great post, Julie! I like your MeeGenius submission very much, and hope others will click the “like” button for it over on the MeeGenius site. (Note to other blog readers that clicking to like this post is NOT the same as going over to the MeeGenius page and liking Julie’s story.)

Learning about all the different animal group names is fascinating, and your book is great fun, as well.

Best of luck!

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks for coming by Beth!

3. BrainRants - December 13, 2011

My favorite is ‘a murder of crows,’ but that probably doesn’t go into a kid’s book… just sayin’

nrhatch - December 13, 2011

That’s a great one. My favorites are a Zeal of Zebras and a Rhumba of Rattlesnakes!

I wanted to read up on a Zeal of Zebras and found this . . . the cover is awesome!


Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Nancy, I have a zeal of zebras including in a longer version of the story. Got left on the cutting room floor (which is why I could write more!)

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Brian, I actually had a “murder of crows” along with other animal groups in a longer version of the story. I had to cut some of the couplets out because of the MeeGenius length restrictions. I love a murder of crows too – Makes me think of Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

Patrick Ross - December 13, 2011

I’ll confess, my first mind leap was to a murder of crows. But the ones you include are just as offbeat, and much less disturbing! I think my three favorite are the pandemonium of parrots, the quiver of cobras, and the sleuth of bears. I didn’t know almost any of these; perhaps you should also write a book for adults on how these terms evolved!

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

@Patrick – never thought of that. But it’s an interesting idea because the adults seem to enjoy learning the names just as much, if not more, than kids do!

4. Robyn Campbell - December 13, 2011

I love Julie’s story. It deserves to win. Love the respect for wildlife that it teaches. I’m tweeting about it every day. 🙂

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks Robin! I appreciate your comment and your tweets!

5. hannahholt - December 13, 2011

Wow! Well with a sell like that… I hope you win Julie!

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

I know! I told you Nancy was generous – in both her time and her praise. Lucky me I get to be here today!

6. Karen McFarland - December 13, 2011

Julie, I always love what you write. Your voice is so kind and compassionate. No wonder you love writing children’s books.

Best wishes Julie! 🙂

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

What a nice compliment Karen – thanks!

7. Susanna Leonard Hill - December 13, 2011

Great post, Julie! And nice plug from Nancy 🙂 I hope your votes are multiplying like a husk of rabbits 🙂

8. Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Me too Susanna! Thanks for hopping over here. 🙂

nrhatch - December 13, 2011

I just checked the “leader board” and you’re at #37 . . . and climbing. 😀

9. Andra Watkins - December 13, 2011

Good luck, Julie! I am happy to support such a creative, worthy book.

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks Andra! I’m touched you think so.

10. SidevieW - December 13, 2011

well done, its great fun

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks – so glad you enjoyed it!

11. Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen) - December 13, 2011

I’m rooting for you. Plus, you were great to pass along that zebra information. Plus I need to check out that Zebra book mentioned in the comments. This is my first time at Nancy’s place. I’m going to look around.

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Good luck leaving once you start! 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

nrhatch - December 13, 2011

Aww . . . thanks, Julie. 🙂

12. jakesprinter - December 13, 2011

Very Great writing Julie thanks for sharing 🙂

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks so much! My pleasure.

13. kateshrewsday - December 13, 2011

Voted! Your ideas are great and I really admire your focus, Julie. All the best with this!

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks so much! I’ll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

14. barb19 - December 13, 2011

This is a great idea for a children’s book – it’s educational, interesting and best of all – fun! Children will love it!
Been over and voted. Good luck Julie!

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thanks Barb! I saw your comment and appreciate it!

15. Pocket Perspectives - December 13, 2011

It’s a terrific children’s book…and adults will enjoy reading it to them, too. (school teacher here)

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Thank you so much! Especially flattering coming from a teacher.

16. Booksphotographsandartwork - December 13, 2011

Cute story and very informative. I know the murder of crows wasn’t inclcuded but why on earth is it called a murder I wonder? I love crows.

Julie Hedlund - December 13, 2011

Isn’t there something about crows gathering at inauspicious times? I’m not sure but someone else suggested maybe writing an adult book to explain how these names came to be. It’s definitely got me curious to keep exploring!

17. jannatwrites - December 13, 2011

I thought the story was cute. (It was much better than the last book my son brought home from the library.)

I hope you win – with illustrations for each of those, it would be engaging for both parents and children!

Julie Hedlund - December 14, 2011

Aww – thanks! I’m curious which book your son brought home now! 🙂

18. Cindy - December 13, 2011

Best of luck to you, Julie.

Julie Hedlund - December 14, 2011

Thanks Cindy!

19. Tilly Bud - December 14, 2011

Good luck in the book challenge!

20. Julie Hedlund - December 14, 2011

Thanks Tilly!

21. Louise Behiel - December 14, 2011

good luck with the contest Julie. It’s a great book.

Julie Hedlund - December 14, 2011

Thanks Louise!

22. bluebee - December 14, 2011

And a mumuration of starlings 🙂

I’m not on FB so can’t vote, but good luck, Julie – I’m sure you will do well

nrhatch - December 14, 2011

The collective names for animals make for fascinating and fanciful reading.

23. Team Oyeniyi - December 15, 2011

Good luck Julie – I twittered and stumbled, so I hope it helps!

nrhatch - December 15, 2011

Thanks, Robyn! Way to spread the word(s)! 😀

24. nrhatch - December 15, 2011

Woot! Julie’s moved up on the leader board from #37 (on Tuesday) to #22 (today).

Climb on!

Julie Hedlund - December 15, 2011

Thanks so much, Nancy! I am beyond excited, but I’m especially grateful for all the people (like yourself) who have made this happen. The support has been phenomenal!

25. Perfecting Motherhood - December 15, 2011

My most favorite animal group naming is a “flamboyance of flamingoes”, which I heard at the San Diego Zoo years ago. What better way to describe the ladies (and men) in pink?!

nrhatch - December 15, 2011

That is PERFECT for our flamboyent pink friends. 😀

26. cuhome - December 16, 2011

VERY nice! I, too, had never heard of a float of crocodiles or an ostentation of peacocks! Who comes up with this stuff??

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

Maybe it’s a job that one must apply for? 😛

27. ElizOF - December 17, 2011

Best wishes on your effort Julie. I will check out the link and support you. Good luck and I hope you win! 🙂

Julie Hedlund - December 17, 2011

Thank you! You guys have all been so amazing. I really appreciate it.

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