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Beasts by the Bunches: Strange But True Poems About the Strange-But-True Names for Groups of Animals Hardcover – August 4, 1987

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (August 4, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385237944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385237949
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,985,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5 A collection of illustrated poems based on the ubiquitous conceit of traditional names of groups of animals (a watch of nightingales, a muster of peacocks, etc.), Beasts by the Bunch falls far short of the highest expectations for children's poetry and illustration. Lowe's first published collection of juvenile poetry is marred by forced rhyme, uniform rhythm unrelated to content or mood, a dearth of figurative imagery, and a lack of richly evocative language. The images are hackneyed at best (blind moles, vicious crows, pompous peacocks), often nonsensical (``Why does a sloth of bears wear pajamas''), and frequently repugnant (pigs eating sausages, burping storks, and little girls strangling geese). Harrison's full-page ink and watercolor illustrations are garish, heavy, literal to the extent of permitting children no imaginative visual connotations, and offensive in their stereotyping. Any comparison with the imagination, whimsy, and dignity of Brian Wildsmith's Wild Animals (Watts, 1967; o.p.) becomes almost absurd. Although some children may enjoy the literal simplicity and trite humor, Beasts by the Bunch cannot offer them an imaginative exploration of the animal world, a rich experience with language and imagery, or the delight and excitement of new discoveries. Pamela Miller Ness, The Fenn School, Concord, Mass.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie B. on March 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
this is a great way to get your kids interested in poetry. great for animal lovers. great for ages toddler to adult. these are funny or clever or touching or quietly beautiful. our favorites are the knot of toads - funny; the pod of whales - beautiful; a smack of jellyfish - clever; an exaltation of larks - soaring; a murder of crows - a bit creepy in a fun way; a watch of nightingales - quietly comforting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By antoinette costello on June 13, 2014
Format: Audio Cassette
this is the most delightful and educational musical video, for all ages. I knew many of the usual animal "bunches" but learned about so many more, and they use many cleaver rhymes that are hard to get out of your head ! my grandchildren are so entertained and" try" to sing along. we can just imagine the jellyfish smacking and slapping along, the rag,rag,rag of colts is the boys favorite. a must for all kids.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beastie Boy on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Picked as XMKIDS radio "Pet of the Month" in February, 2004 BEASTS BY THE BUNCHES was selected by [...] as its featured work for May, 2004. (See following review.) It features every kind of music from samba and country to rap and Celtic.

Mifflin Lowe, noted humorist and author, has ventured into the children's music market with a plethora of songs and poems about the strange and true names for groups of animals. Beasts By the Bunches employs a bevy of musical styles that fit the animals attitudes. The country-western feel of "A Rag of Colts" is appropriately wild and wooly, and it's easy to imagine some rough-and-tumble miners belting "A Labor of Moles," shovels and picks at the ready. "A Troop of Kangaroos" takes on a British music-hall feel, and Lowe's delivery is perfect on the clever poetry of "A Clowder of Cats." This clever collection tickles the funny bone and informs and educates as it goes.
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More About the Author

Dear Reader,

The following may seem a lot like a resume or PR bio, because... that's what it is. But it should give you the idea of what I'm up to and about. Get in touch if you have any thoughts you want to share on what I can do better...or what I should do next.


Author, singer, songwriter, and musician, Mifflin Lowe has had four books published, which have sold over 300,000 copies in 4 languages. His books include a children's poetry book, Beasts By The Bunches (Doubleday) and three humor books for adults: The Cheapskate's Handbook, I Hate Fun and How To Be A Celebrity (Price/Stern/Sloan.)
He has also performed his music for family audiences from New England to New Orelans presenting works from his children's CDs: The King Who Forgot His Underpants, Cowboy Kareem, Wilton Wilberry's Magical Holiday Wishing Well, Cat Tales, and Beasts By The Bunches (Caedmon/Harper& Row;) and has sung an orchestral version of "Beasts by The Bunches," with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and Missouri Symphony under the direction of Maestro Kirk Trevor. Recently, his animated film script, The Adventures of Cowboy Kareem won the blue ribbon prize in the Sarasota Film Office TV/ME competition beating out over 800 entrants from 28 states.,
In the world of dance, Mifflin's work has been used by the Island Moving Company of Newport, RI in presentations of "Beasts by The Bunches" and "Cowboy Kareem." The West Hartford Youth Ballet under the direction of Bette Ann Libin has also presented Mr. Lowe's works, including Beasts By The Bunches, a dance from Lowe's song, "I Spit Out My Food" for the "Ted Hershey Dance Marathon". This June, the West Hartford Youth Ballet will present a dance performance featuring Miss Libin's original choreography with the music and story of Lowe's rock opera, "The King Who Forgot His Underpants."

Blurbs, Words & Reviews: Mifflin Lowe's "Beasts by the Bunches."


"Beasts By the Bunches" employs a bevy of musical styles that fit the animals' attitudes. The country western feel of "Rag of Colts" is wild and wooly, and it's easy to imagine rough-and-tumble miners belting "A Labor of Moles." This clever collection tickles the funny bone and informs and educates as it goes.
- John Woods,

"A delightful collection of songs and poems. Some are funny, some are touching, all are clever and entertaining. A wonderful mix of silliness and insight." -Chris Vanallsburg, author of The Polar Express and Jumanji, Caldecott Award winner.

"Mifflin Lowe proves himself to be an amicable, capable ringleader for this erratic musical adventure that brims with wonderfully written poems and imagination sparking lyrics."- Jason Hoffman, WHATZUP!

"Beasts by the Bunches" has much to teach children (and parents!) about music, the language, and each other. Perfect for children from 3-8, it belongs in every home. -- Prof. Susan Trostle Brand, D.Ed, Professor of Education, URI.


Beasts By The Bunches. (Doubleday).

Wilton Wilberry and the Magical Christmas Wishing Well. (Locokids.)

"A Knot of Toads." (Cricket Magazine).

Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z. A Bedtime Story. (Locokids.)

The Cheapskate's Handbook (Price/Stern/Sloan). Also in Italian, Danish, Norwegian,

I Hate Fun. (Price/Stern/Sloan).

How to be a Celebrity. (Price/Stern/Sloan).

"American Jugs," "Adam on Eve." ("Small Pond Literary Review," now in the Beinecke Library at Yale University.

Current Works:

The Adventures of Cowboy Cody. (CD/film/picture book).

Little Dog/Big Bark. Big Dog/Little Bark.

The Bogeyman. His Side of the Story

Q. The Queen of Halloween. (horror novel)


Beasts By The Bunches. (Caedmon/Harper and Row).

The King Who Forgot His Underpants. (Song Castle Music.)

Wilton Wilberry and the Magical, Christmas Wishing Well. (Locokids/cd)
A holiday story with songs.

Current musical works in the works:

THE ADVENTURES OF COWBOY CODY. A boy from NYC dreams of being a cowboy. His imagination changes the City into the Wild West.

CAT TALES. Songs about cats.

Sang and presented the orchestral version of "Beasts" with the Syracuse Symphony and the Missouri Symphony.

Beasts By The Bunches music used for dance works presented by The Island Moving Company (Newport, RI) and the West Hartford Youth Ballet. WHYB will use the story and songs from The King Who Forgot His Underpants for dance program in June, 2012.

Creative Director of nation's 20th largest advertising agency, TV copywriter of the year. Winner of awards in the following shows: Cannes, Clio, One Show, British Design and Art Direction, Communication Arts, Hatch, featured in "Print" magazine.

Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education Course.


Newport Environment and Energy Committee, Newport Gateway Project, Vice President of the Point Association, Meals on Wheels, Princeton Alumni Student Applicant Interviewer.

EDUCATION -- A.B. in Art and Archaeology/ Princeton University .

Contact: Al aka Mifflin Lowe, 246 Robin Drive, Bird Key, Sarasota, Florida 34236,
941-955-4807, (cell) 401-480-4487,,

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