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H. C. Bernhard Grzimek hoped his original encyclopedia would "disseminate knowledge of the animals and love for them." This is also a goal of the revised edition; it does not disappoint. All volumes follow a similar organization. Introductory chapters, written in a narrative style, are usually followed by taxonomic chapters and species accounts, which follow a prescribed format. There are no page references from the main account of the species to the illustrations; the index at the end of each volume must be consulted. Color photographs, illustrations, and distribution maps supplement the text. Additional resources include references to books, periodical articles, organizations, and Web sites.
Volume 1, Lower Metazoans and Lesser Deuterostomes (e.g., sea anemones, sponges, jellyfish, flukes, tapeworms, nematodes), and volume 2, Protostomes (e.g., mollusks, gastropods, annelids), represent animals often not well known to nonspecialists. The authors do an excellent job of presenting current research and scientific facts in combination with interesting sidelights. Volume 3, Insects, is written in an engaging style and provides a good overview of more than 1.5 million known species. Volumes 12-16, Mammals, are a rich source of information on this popular group, from platypuses to moles to bats to wildebeests to whales to humans. The illustrations are of mixed appeal; some look like strained imitations of reality, while others seem as if the animals could walk off the page. A less current revision is McGraw-Hill's 1990 Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, distinguished by exceptional large-format action photographs.
Authoritative writing in a style accessible to the general reader, comprehensive coverage, a taxonomic arrangement to facilitate comparison between species, consistent organization, ample color illustrations and photographs, incorporation of current research, and the inclusion of conservation status and the significance of the animal to humans make Grzimek's an excellent choice for academic, large public, and special libraries. RBB
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