Gr. 4^-7. This well-organized encyclopedia is just what the young researcher or browser needs to be introduced to the many kinds of birds populating the planet. Arranged by groups, such as seabirds, songbirds, and ground birds, the various sections describe some of the birds in a category and then focus on one bird from that group. The chapter on songbirds, for example, zeros in on crows, probably the most intelligent of all birds. For the most part, these are thumbnail sketches that include scientific name, size, habitat, and brief description. Most of the illustrations are color drawings, with a few color photographs sprinkled here and there. Female species are often described but are not as well represented in the illustrations as the more colorful males. From beaks to feathers, this is a well-written introduction for the beginner. Denia Hester
From Kirkus Reviews
A glossy introduction to birds that loosely groups the 20 orders of living birds into seven chapters: ``Ground and Game Birds,'' ``Seabirds,'' ``Waterbirds and Cranes,'' ``Wading Birds,'' ``Owls and Birds of Prey,'' ``Birds of the Trees and Masters of the Air,'' and ``Songbirds.'' Within each chapter Johnson provides an introductory page on how the birds live, boxes illustrating typical beaks and feet, and a chart of the main families. She then devotes a few spreads to a ``catalog of birds'': Six or seven colored boxes each contain a drawing (not to scale) of a bird with a sentence or two about it, its scientific name, size, and place of origin. Focus sections in each chapter attempt to look in greater detail at particular groups. The index offers access to the birds only by their common names. The full-color illustrations and photos, in a variety of styles, lack the cohesion and detail Richard Orr brought to Barbara Taylor's superior The Bird Atlas (1993); this production is handsome but superficial. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.