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If Wishes Were Fishes

A Celebration of Animal Group Names

Book illustration

Words and Pictures by Anne L. Watson

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.


You’re welcome to download a free digital copy of this book, if you’re an educator, librarian, bookseller, rights buyer, book reviewer, or anyone else needing to evaluate it professionally. To download now, just hit the link below. No personal info or approval is required.

If Wishes Were Fishes ARC
(PDF, 3 MB)

Skyhook Press

Paperback ~ 2023

Ebook ~ 2019

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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!

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