Description: This is a very good general reference for comparison of the basic anatomy of the dog, cat, rabbit, rat, and guinea pig. Composed entirely of illustrations, it does not include written descriptions of specific anatomy. Rather, it relies entirely on hand-drawn illustrations of similar style to allow comparison of anatomy within and between the species.
Purpose: According to the authors, the atlas "is not a complete, detailed anatomic atlas. Instead it presents topographic relationships of the major organs of the dogs, cat, rabbit, rat and guinea pig in a simple yet technically accurate form." Although there are more detailed anatomic references available, few manage to present the most useful details in such an easily accessible fashion to readers with varied backgrounds. Many books provide much greater anatomic detail on these species, but they can be difficult to quickly reference because of the intense detail included. These books also can be difficult for laypersons or beginners new to the field to understand. This atlas fills the gap between such highly detailed references and oversimplified anatomic descriptions. The authors have achieved their objectives by providing accurate descriptions of the most pertinent anatomy while avoiding excessive detail.
Audience: The atlas has a wide audience, as the introduction clearly states that it is "intended for use by individuals at different stages of their education." As such, it is unlikely to completely satisfy every reader. However, it manages to present information in a fashion that is easy to understand by almost any reader. Veterinary students will appreciate the comparative nature of the book, with the range of species presented. Professionals with more advanced knowledge will find the atlas useful in explaining anatomy to laypersons, clients, and students. It is authored by two professors of anatomy from prominent universities.
Features: The first section covers basic terminology, nomenclature, and anatomic orientation for those new to anatomic description. Subsequent sections are divided into the five covered species and are composed entirely of illustrations of the most pertinent anatomy. The comparative nature of the atlas is its best feature. Many pages present a male and female of the covered species on opposing pages to allow easy determination of the differences between sexes. All illustrations are of a similar style, allowing easy comparison between sexes and species. Numerous spelling errors represent a significant shortcoming of this atlas, e.g. "cartlaginous" - p. 14 plate 1.13B, "interosous" - p. 11 plate 1.10B; "hoizontal" - p. 15 plate 1.14A; "laryngoharynx" - p. 16 plate 1.15B; "hypohysis" - p. 23 plate 1.22.
Assessment: This atlas bridges the gap between highly detailed dedicated anatomy texts and the basic, oversimplified illustrations provided in books not focused solely on anatomy. It will be most useful in the education of students, clients, and laypersons not familiar with the subject. (Although advertised as a revised edition on the front cover, it is listed as being a first edition on the copyright page, making it difficult to determine whether this book is replacing a previous edition.)