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If Wishes Were Fishes
A Celebration of Animal Group Names

Words and Pictures by
Anne L. Watson

General Info

There’s an old saying: “If wishes were horses, we’d all get a ride.” But what if wishes were schools of fish? What if they were prides of lions, or pods of dolphins? What kinds of wish could you get from those?

This illustrated fantasy poem is a lighthearted romp through the animal kingdom and the names of their groups.

For ages 3 to 9.

Anne L. Watson is the author/illustrator of the Katie Mouse and Coco Mouse books, as well as the author of numerous craft books and novels for adults. Her illustrations are imaginative collages assembled and manipulated in Photoshop.

Next River Books
Ebook ~ 2019

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Book cover: If Wishes Were Fishes


“If wishes were horses,
We’d all get a ride!”
That’s what you’d hear
If your wish was denied.

But when I consider,
It leaves me perplexed—
If wishes were animals,
What could come next?

If wishes were fishes,
Whose groups are called schools,
I’d wish that the teacher
Would sink all the rules.

Or a passel of possums,
The jills and the jacks,
I’d wish I could hang out
With them to relax.

If they were flamingos,
Whose group is a stand,
I’d wish for good balance,
And strength in my hand.

If wishes were elephants—
Called a parade
I’d wish for a clown
And some pink lemonade.

If wishes were dolphins,
Who frisk in a pod,
I’d wish I could join them,
Though I might look odd.

If wishes were butterflies
Perched in a roost,
I’d wish from afar,
Since we weren’t introduced.

And if they were lions
Who hunt in a pride,
I’d wish to be anywhere else—
And then hide!

Each animal group
Has its own special name.
If each were a wish,
There’d be no two the same.

A party of peacocks,
A labor of moles,
A dazzle of zebras,
A rake of new foals,

A mischief of mice,
Or a shrewdness of apes—
As wishes, they’d take
Individual shapes.

And not-so-nice animals
Also have groups,
Like weasels in gangs,
Or gorillas in troops,

Or jaguars in shadows,
Or sharks in their shivers,
A scourge of mosquitoes,
Or cobras in quivers.

A surfeit of skunks
Would be nobody’s wish—
They’re not at all friendly
Like grammar school fish!

Now, I can imagine
What wishing might be
For dozens of creatures,
But I’ll wish as me.

Some wishes are idle,
But many come true,
So I’ll wish that wild animals
Stay in the zoo.

I wish I could go there
And visit each one,
And buy a balloon
And a cinnamon bun.
And to make it a day,
Ride the carousel, too—

But my best wish?
To be in a family with you!