For basic research on Insects, keep Jenny Tesar's volume readily available. Writing clearly and simply, Ms. Tesar details physical characteristics and how they function, how various species survive and reproduce, and the insects' niches in the food chain. Among the choice, well-annotated, color illustrations are stunning close-ups photographs that include a praying mantis dining on a monarch butterfly and a cricket's "ear" on its front leg. Sidebars sprinkled throughout the text call attention to specific insect features-the types of mouthparts, for example, with adjacent, easy-to-compare, line-drawn portraits of a grasshopper, cicada, housefly, and honeybee heads. Charts displaying the major insect orders, a taxonomy of the animal kingdom, and glossary conclude.