Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for A cache of jewels and other collective nouns
A cache of jewels and other collective nouns


Publication Information:
New York : Grosset & Dunlap, ©1987 (Italy)
Physical Description:
44 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Rhyming text and illustrations introduce a variety of collective nouns such as a "drift of swans" and a "clutch of eggs."
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number
428.2 HELLER
J 422 Heller 1987

On Order



Rhyming text and illustrations introduce a variety of collective nouns such as a "drift of swans" and a "clutch of eggs".

Author Notes

After receiving a fine arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley and completing two years of graduate work in design at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Ruth Heller (1923-2004) began her career designing wrapping paper, cocktail napkins, greeting cards, and coloring books. After five years of rejection and one complete revision, Heller's first book,  Chickens Aren't the Only Ones , about egg-laying animals, was published in 1981. It was so successful that the sequel, and second book to be published,  Animals Born Alive And Well  (1982), about mammals, quickly followed. In 1983 and 1984, her third and fourth titles,  The Reason For A Flower  (about plants that have seeds and flowers) and  Plants That Never Ever Bloom  (about plants that do not) were published.

She then began work on a collection of six books, the  How To Hide  series on camouflage and the magic of this phenomenon in nature, which covered the entire animal kingdom -- insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and sea creatures. The next collection of books became a five-volume series on parts of speech:  A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns; Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs; Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives; Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns;  and  Up, Up and Away: A Book About Adverbs . She also wrote and illustrated the unique and fascinating book  Color , a charming and instructive guide to how art goes through the four color printing process.

Among the notable people who have had an influence on Heller's writing have been: Ogden Nash, Gilbert and Sullivan, Edward Lear, Hilaire Belloc, and Dr. Seuss. Heller says of her work, "All my books are nonfiction picture books in rhyme. I find writing in rhyme enjoyable and challenging, and I think it is an easy way for children to learn new facts and acquire a sophisticated vocabulary. Children are not intimidated by big words. I try to make my writing succinct and allow the illustrations to convey as much information as possible."

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1 ``A muster of peacocks,'' ``a kindle of kittens,'' and other familiar and unusual collective nouns form the text of Heller's book. Bright, richly-colored oil pencil and line drawings enliven each set of objects, and some are exceptionally life-likeone can practically hear the crunch of the crusty loaves of bread and smell the bananas. Each group of items is presented in rhyme, which is remarkably smooth and unforced until the last page, when an explanation of the concept of col lective nouns, more suited to simple prose, intrudes. While ``. . .Jewels'' can be used to help children learn about parts of speech, its principal charm lies in the illustrations and the vocabulary itself, which will delight small eyes and ears. Kathleen Brachmann, Highland Park Public Library, Ill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In light verse and brightly colored pictures, Heller provides an introduction to a specialized part of speech, the collective noun. She lists and depicts more than 25, including such familiar terms as ``batch of bread'' and ``bunch of bananas,'' as well as more unusual phrases: ``gam of whales,'' ``muster of peacocks'' and ``parcel of penguins.'' The concept will stimulate the curiosity and imaginations of children with an ear for language. The illustrations, containing large, bold objects in simple yet striking compositions, ensure a visually inspiring exploration as well. Ages 4-8. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved