Sunday, October 12, 2008

Deborah Ramos


Deborah Ramos Interview for An Armory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras 


  1. Where do you get your inspiration?

I find inspiration in the usual places… my pets, my kids, my granddaughter, my students, nature, places I've been, places I want to visit.  Most of my stories begin with a true event, and then my imagination takes it from there. Once my two cats jumped on top of the snake tank, and the snake escaped. We found him two weeks later. That was a good story starter!  Sometimes my head is swimming with stories. If I don't write them down, I'll forget.


  1. What did you like to read as a child?

Little Lulu comic books were my favorite stories. On rainy days, or when I was home sick from school, I'd get comfy under my blankets, and read my Little Lulu comics. The Secret Garden was my favorite book. My fifth grade teacher read it out loud to the class. She gave characters accents and read with such expression, that it left a lasting impression on me. As a teenager, I didn't read much. I found the classics boring, but Edgar Allen Poe fascinated me. 


  1. Why did you write about collective nouns?

I was writing a story about Africa, and in my research, I found a website that listed animals in alphabetical order, along with their group name. It sparked an interest, and I dug deeper. I thought it would be more fun to create a list of group names in alphabetical order. And the search began. It was fun for me, and I learned a lot about collective nouns and animals. Group names can bring to mind such interesting images, such as a prickling of porcupines; you can almost FEEL those, pokey, prickly quills.


       What is your favorite collective noun?

It's hard to say, there's so many. But I think the most interesting one is an Escargatoire of Snails. I imagine a little snail party crawling in circles on a plate, oozing in an out of butter pats and garlic cloves. I love a Pandemonium of Parrots; can't you just hear them squawking in the trees? What an image that conjures up.




An Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras by Deborah Ramos

If you wish to travel across the pages of An Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras, you can pre-order the book directly from the publisher, WindstormCreative at:





They're compelling. They're clever. They're collective nouns! An Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras takes the reader on a lively tour of animal group names from A to Z, a fresh approach to collective nouns, presenting only the most unique and colorful groups. The group naming of beasts dates back to 15th century Medieval England when hunters needed to know the names of their quarry. Sidebars explain why wolves hunt in packs, how zebras protect themselves, and how far butterflies travel in the winter. The adventure begins with the letter A. An Aarmory of Aardvarks, shy and nocturnal, leads us to the letter B. A Brood of Jellyfish, fluid and transparent, floats across the page to the letter C. A Crash of Rhinos, with keen hearing and poor eyesight, charges their way to the letter D. A Drift of Swine, stout and thick skinned, wallows their way to the letter E. Letter by letter animals crash, flutter and quiver across the pages. Wait until you see what's heating up with the letter X!




An Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras offers an imaginative combination of learning and visual pleasure. It is designed to appeal to a wide range of ages, from five to adult. The language is simple and fast paced keeping the readers attention all the way to the letter Z. Included is a brief history of the group naming of animals and several fact-filled sidebars. Educators and parents can utilize Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras as a teaching tool to stimulate topics such as why animals live in groups, or how they behave within their environment. Children and students can do further research to discover more collective nouns, and challenge their creativity to come up with their own.  Increase a child's vocabulary, imagination, and desire to learn by stocking your shelves with An Aarmory of Aardvarks, A Zeal of Zebras, a must have for any bookstore, library, or classroom.

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