Imagine meeting a quiver of cobras, a bloat of hippopotamuses or a conspiracy of lemurs.
Taranaki author Helen Griffiths did just that and her fascination with collective nouns for animal species led her to write an acclaimed children's book.
Treasure Without Measure: a collective noun safari is Griffiths' first children's book and the author said it began life as a poem.
"I started writing poetry as a distraction to relieve the stresses of running a business and I wrote that one for Conservation Week in 2017," Griffiths said.
"I decided to put my big pants on and read it at the Poetry Slam at Womad in 2018, and afterward a lot of people told me I should write a book."
The Covid-19 lockdown phase of 2020 gave Griffiths the time and impetus to finish the book and Treasure Without Measure, illustrated by Simon Chadwick, made it to the Unity Children's Bestseller Chart in November.
Griffiths said the book was both a celebration of language and a vehicle to encourage children's awareness of the myriad animal species in the world.
After watching David Attenborough's 2020 documentary A Life on Our Planet, Griffiths sent the famous naturalist a copy of her book and was stunned to receive a handwritten reply.
"It was just a couple of lines thanking me for the book and saying it was 'most kind' of me to send it.
"I was deeply touched that he took the trouble to send a personal message and I will treasure it."
In term 1 this year Griffiths read her book to children at Whanganui schools Carlton, Churton, Durie Hill, Gonville, Aberfeldy, Kakatahi, Mangamahu and Mosston, and this week she will visit St Marcellin and St Johns Hill.
"I love the welcome I get in Whanganui schools," Griffiths said.
"The children greeted me with enthusiasm and asked a lot of very good questions so I'm looking forward to coming back."