From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—MacDonald refines his authoritative, cladistically arranged 2001 resource (Facts On File) to incorporate both current thinking about evolutionary relationships among mammals and the results of recent research into mammalian traits and genetics. Volume one opens with several overview essays ("What Is a Mammal?"), then covers monotremes, marsupials, and insect eaters; elephants and relatives; rodents; and lagomorphs. The second volume deals with primates, tree shrews, and colugos; shrews, moles, and hedgehogs; bats; pangolins; and carnivores. The third volume continues the coverage of carnivores, followed by sections on hoofed mammals and whales and dolphins. It also includes lists (in challengingly tiny type) of every species not described earlier and a set index. Each chapter is prefaced by general observations and includes occasional essays on intriguing discoveries ("Sex Ratio Manipulation in Red Deer," "Lemur Dialects"). The profiles are much enhanced by the title's most enticing feature: a huge array of big, sharp color photos of individual animals and groups and breathtaking shots of nature in action and graphics, including species distribution maps and drawings of animals. Though humans get barely a mention and the lively text is laid out in such dense blocks that less-motivated readers may quickly feel bogged down, the set provides an unusually inviting bridge to high-level research. Not an essential replacement for collections that already include the earlier edition, but a significant addition for those that don't.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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From Library Journal
This comprehensive encyclopedia, expanded from one to three volumes and updated to include the latest scientific developments since the 1984 edition, should reach a broad audience. The information is presented in a consistent format, and color photographs, maps, and sketches make the set visually appealing. At the same time, each entry is authoritative and informative enough to be useful to students. The three volumes are divided into carnivores and sea mammals; primates and large herbivores; and marsupials/insect eaters/small herbivores. Mammals are subdivided first by order, whose common features are highlighted in a general essay, and then by family. Each family receives its own chapter, which begins with an overview of the characteristics of the family, including form and function, social behavior, distribution, and conservation and environment. Lesser-known species are treated as a group, with a brief description of each species. Each chapter includes a "Factfile" sidebar that gives a quick summary of the family's habitat, distribution, diet, breeding, longevity, and status. Families with many species have longer entries, which are supplemented by additional articles labeled "special feature." The third volume includes a complete species list and comprehensive index. As a three-volume set, this work is obviously more comprehensive than the single-volume Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife (LJ 11/1/01), covering approximately 4600 species; however, Animal's 2000 species include nonmammals. Editor MacDonald, a respected scholar in the study of mammals and an award-winning filmmaker, has combined both skills to produce an excellent resource. Recommended for all libraries needing a comprehensive, up-to-date animal reference, though small libraries or those with limited budgets should get Animal. Debby Emerson, Rochester Regional Lib. Council, Fairport, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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