From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-For the child who is drawn to creepy-crawly critters, Bishop's oversized volume offers hours of visual pleasure. Each of the seven double-page photo collages was computer generated from more than 60 of the photographer's individual images taken with the use of a laser trigger to trip a fast shutter and high-speed strobes to freeze the insects in motion. Creatures in the photo collages are life-size. In some pictures, a magnifying glass shows several insects two times larger than life-size; a hand lens shows them four times larger. Text-filled pages in this section, written in one long paragraph, contain tidbits of information about each creature in the preceding photo; animal/insect names are highlighted in colored type, with a small photo of each one somewhere on the page. Topics include critters that inhabit the ground; those that visit flowers or vegetables; toolshed inhabitants; creatures that dwell in weeds, bushes, and trees; and facts on insect flight. A four-page section offers general hints on how to attract wild creatures to your yard and observe them without destroying their habitats. A few notes on safety are included. An eight-page picture index leads readers to each creature in photo illustration and text. Similarly formatted, Michael Gaffney's Secret Forests (Golden, 1994; o.p.) is about insects and small creatures that dwell in tropical, pine, and leafy forests. Neither book offers sufficient information for reports, but Bishop gives even youngsters who don't have backyards a close-up and personal view of the natural world.
Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 1-3. A glossy photograph of a habitat, such as a vegetable garden or a weedy patch, shows what the publisher terms life-size inhabitants of each of seven double-page spreads. Following these simulated scenes, which have been painstakingly created from smaller photos, are two pages with more information about each animal. More than 125 insects and other animals appear, many of which can be found throughout the U.S. A final section suggests nature projects, such as growing a butterfly garden. The arrangement of the pictorial index is confusing, and photos (only some of which are life-size) aren't to scale, so a millipede appears to be about the same length as a mole. The book isn't as informative as Bishop's The Secrets of Animal Flight (1997), and the photos aren't as beautiful as those that he did for Joy Cowley's Red-Eyed Tree Frog (1999). That said, this is, nevertheless, an attractive book that will serve as a good introduction for children new to the study of nature. Serious nature fans will want to stick to field guides. Kathleen Odean
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