From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up—This lavish, ambitious volume contains full-color illustrations of more than 1500 species. Each brief entry includes common and scientific names and mention of an interesting physical or behavioral trait. Range maps show where each animal is found, and conservation data notes which species are extinct, endangered, or vulnerable. In addition to the realistic drawings, there are dramatic photos of animals in their habitats, such as one of a distraught Arctic seal pup caught in a discarded fishing net as its mother looks on. Introductory pages discuss the animal kingdom and classification as well as behavior, senses, communication, habitats, and endangerment. Readers may be alarmed to learn that "Even the great mass extinction 65 million years ago…did not destroy as many species as are dying out now." Subsequent chapters are devoted to mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Chapters begin with discussions of commonalities and differences as well as the reproduction and behavior of each group. Boxed fast facts, diagrams, and visuals of life cycles offer additional information. The small print and the more challenging vocabulary make this update more suitable for older readers than the 2000 edition, which contained fewer species but offered more information about each one. While most species are listed by name in the index, popular creatures such as the lion, tiger, and cheetah appear under "cats" with no "see" references. Nonetheless, animal enthusiasts will go wild for this fascinating, colorful edition, most suitable for browsing.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
With more than 1.5 million species, the animal kingdom is an endless source of fascination, and this beautifully detailed animal encyclopedia, though intended for ages eight and up, is sure to fascinate and enlighten readers of all ages. Color illustrations and photographs of more than 1,000 species dominate the pages. Providing authoritative, up-to-date information on everything from life cycle and survival strategies of major animal groups to fast facts on specific species, this reference also boasts distribution maps and conservation information for many animal groups.
Coverage begins with a concise introduction to the animal world, including information on classification, habitats, and a brief mention of conservation and the loss of species. The book then divides into six color-coded chapters, each comprising one of the major animal groups. The first five chapters are devoted to vertebrates and the last to invertebrates. Three to five color photographs adorn the double-page introduction to each chapter. Introductory text summarizes distinctive characteristics and behaviors unique to each group, including evolution, reproduction, differences between young and adult, and communication. Labeled diagrams provide information on particular aspects, such as different types of bird feathers.
After the introduction, each chapter is organized by main animal groups and, in some cases, subgroups. Classification data are provided as well as additional information on the physical characteristics, life cycle, and other features. The illustrations of species are labeled with common and scientific names, and many also include icons indicating conservation status.
Though not comprehensive, the glossary of almost 150 words is a nice feature. The nicely organized section on animal sizes lists each species shown in the book along with its largest normal size (length, height, width, or wingspan, depending on the animal group). The book concludes with an index of animals and general concepts.
This appealing and reasonably priced resource is recommended for school and public libraries. Heather Heyduk
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