Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftProduced in the UK, the "World about Us: Geography" series offers information about ecosystems of the earth for younger students at varying reading levels. Each book defines the system, explores its plants and animals, and discusses its value to humans, as well as threats to its existence and possibilities for the future. Large pages display two paragraphs and two illustrations (mostly brightly-colored photos) with introductions to the spreads and picture captions in a prominent bold font for early readers, while providing, in smaller text, further information for more sophisticated readers. In Deserts, beginning biologists can enjoy learning about plants like acacia and cacti and discovering how animals from desert rats to camels keep cool. Many young environmentalists may not know there are water creatures in deserts and colorful birds like the burrowing owl, the roadrunner, and the world's largest bird, the ostrich; especially fascinating are the so-called "creepy crawlies"spiders, scorpions, snakes, and scarab beetles. The series focuses on future change (deserts are spreading, caused by global warming) and, in this volume, ways people are trying to stop "desertification," although deserts are a source of precious stones, minerals, and dinosaur bones as well as an ideal location for building solar farms. Extra features are a short review quiz, a glossary for older readers, and key words to focus discussion for younger ones. In general, the series is eye-catching, its brief presentations making a good introduction to Earth's ecosystems, while offering many topics for further research.
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