Animal and Plant Anatomy

Animal and Plant Anatomy

by Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This set is an accessible reference especially for the middle school student. The language is clear and concise without being patronizing or simplistic. The set is full of current information that is presented in a very readable style. It is suitable for anyone from middle school through high school, and it is clearly intended to be accessible to someone with no previous science background. While not dumbing down the language, it is clearly designed to be readily assimilated. The structure of each section leads the reader in such a way that he/she can easily extract any desired information. It is because the content is so good that the problems seem magnified. Part of the problem with this set seems to be in the nature of the design of the set. In addition to the regular entries there are entries that are labeled, only at the beginning of the article, as �Overview.� The exact placement of these sections happens as an accident of the alphabet. Why these �Overviews� weren�t put in the final volume along with the generalized discussions I don�t know. While they may be �Overviews,� and important for that function, they have gotten buried and therefore lost because they aren�t distinct and separated; they have no special designation or distinction in the table of contents. It isn�t until the reader stumbles upon one of these �Overviews� that the reader can appreciate them. There are also very general entries like the one for �bacteria� that, because it is an overview, should receive some sort of special designation. For specific plants and animals there are entries that cover the material well. For the most part the specific serves as the global representation --e.g. sequoia at thegymnosperm. Occasionally, as with the article about marsh grasses, this becomes a tad ungainly. It is interesting to note that in the section about ferns information is presented without using a term that most people wouldn�t understand (e.g. alternation of generation). On the other hand, perhaps this is a disservice to the student who, quite possibly, should learn/know this term. By avoiding the use of this term, the younger middle grade student can more readily assimilate the information; however, the other side of this is that the older student will come away from this series without the necessary terminology. As presented, the set is simply more appropriate for a younger age. The constraints of the set mean that there is unequal coverage with animals, especially mammals garnering the most coverage. The coverage for plants is more general. The microbial presentations are even more general. Fungi fare even less well with only one, common, entry. What wasn�t touched on was amazing: no coral, no ginkgos, no snakes, no beetles. What was covered was interesting. Is should be noted that the drawings, while clear, were more simplified than in other sets by the same publisher. It isn�t the information, rather how it is conveyed. There is a certain unevenness of presentation, for example the elegant and effective section about action potentials in nerves versus the section on DNA replication might have been better served as a photograph or computer generated image. Some of the drawings look old and simplified. There was a lack of contrast, and limited color pallet of color to illustrate different aspects of the drawings presented in some of the drawings. It isn�t that the detail isn�t present; it�s simply that the reader must crawl into the drawing to discern it. In the �Overview� section on cell biology the rings drawn in the mitochondria might lead the student reader to infer the rings were physical structures and that the citric acid cycle actually took place in those rings. The publisher designates this set for students up through high school; however, fifteen is, realistically, the upper age level for active use. The level of detail is perfect for the 10 to 15 year-old student. A lot of good material makes this set worthy of purchase, but the design decisions (overviews yes, but not designated and randomly distributed) mean that the publisher gets a cookie with a bite out of it. Reviewer: Mary Ashcliffe

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Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
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