Five ecosystems are described, with explanations of the adaptations the animals have made to live in these sometimes extreme habitats. The interrelationships are stressed, with the importance of each contributor to the food chain. For instance, on the grasslands of Africa, each grazing animal eats a different segment of the grass- new shoots vs. tough stems, etc. Striking photographs and helpful maps punctuate the text.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-A lavish number of clear, bright, half-and full-page, full-color photographs enhance a brief, accurate text that describes animal lifestyles (if not life cycles) in a variety of habitats. While Lauber generalizes certain geographic areas (the seas of Antarctica being circumpolar, and the Northern tundra encompassing parts of Europe, Asia, Greenland, and North America), she is quite geospecific elsewhere (the forests of New England and the deserts of the Southwest U.S.). A seasonal description is included for each area, and while larger life forms receive the spotlighted attention, minor ones are acknowledged, especially in the photo captions. While such a broad overview cannot meet any deep informational needs, it does point up the environmental differences that affect animals and plants, and that may have contributed to their evolution. Oddly missing is the rain forest, a surprising gap in what readers expect will be a global set of ecological windows. Occasionally, as in the specific grass-eating techniques of coexisting grazers on the Africa plains, a great deal of material is imparted in a couple of paragraphs. The book closes with a plea for protection of these habitats and their varied populations. An attractive item for browsing and for piquing the interest of animal lovers.-Patricia Manning, Eastchester Public Library, NY