From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7–A handsome presentation in a slender, oversized format, generously illustrated with impressive, informative acrylics. Strauss's clearly written text first introduces the concept of a family tree for all living things, then goes on to name the five kingdoms of scientific classification (those programmed for "Protists" will have to adapt to "Protoctista" here). On two-page spreads, the author describes the life-forms included in each species, with specific examples shown in the softly colorful illustrations accompanied by informative captions. The Animal Kingdom comprises the longest segment as it is broken down into invertebrates and vertebrates, with the latter divided still further into fish, birds, and so on. Two closing units discuss habitat loss and its effect on biodiversity, and how one can protect the environment. A final entry aimed at "Parents, Teachers and Guardians" explains the history of scientific classification, discusses the importance of biodiversity to this planet, and provides some suggestions for fostering a biodiversity ethic in young people. This book might be paired with Steve Jenkins's equally attractive Life on Earth
(Houghton, 2002) to demonstrate just how biodiversity became such a rich, multilayered conglomeration. Striking, lucid, and deceptively simple.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 3-6. This useful, attractive, oversize volume uses its height well, employing a tree metaphor to show the earth's biodiversity and how all living things, from bacteria to the largest mammals, are related. Each spread covers one branch of the animal kingdom. To make the enormity of species understandable, Strauss equates individual species (e.g., 10,000 bacteria) with one leaf on the tree. Since only a couple of paragraphs are devoted to each species (a bit more information appears in captions), this is strictly an overview. But the eye-catching, painterly artwork, with various life-forms painted into the tree, invites children to look more closely than they might have otherwise. Concluding spreads consider the disappearance of some species and how readers can become stewards of the earth. A final two-page note, directed to parents and teachers, provides a more complex introduction to biodiversity. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved