In describing the rainforests around the globe, this title attempts to generalize about the insects living in the rainforests in Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. While this helps discuss similarities efficiently, it makes it difficult for a child researcher to understand differences. It also makes specific information about a country hard to dig out and leaves readers uncertain that information about a particular country applies equally to others. Discussion opens with a description of the layers of a rainforest, a section about insect metamorphosis and the importance of camouflage. Insects, their role in the rainforest ecology and their habits are discussed by groups¾beetles, flies, ants, termites, bees and butterflies. A few specific insects are mentioned but they are not usually pictured. A reader is told that a blue morpho butterfly is unusual, but a picture shows "a colorful butterfly from Brazil." While readers may learn something about insect life in the rainforest, they will not pick up the type of specifics that delight a child, as the series relies on more general information. A useful glossary includes words specific to insects. Four recommended Internet sites and an index end the book. Part of the "Checkerboard Rain Forest" series. 1999, ABDO Publishing, $19.92. Ages 8 to 11. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Of these three series entries, Insects has the most information not duplicated elsewhere. Although other books about rain forests include insects, Woods provides an overview of the various orders that live in tropical rain forests. The close-up color photographs are sure to stimulate the interest of beginning entomologists. In fact, the photos in all three books are well chosen. Each title lists the same four recommended Internet sites. In all three books, every topic receives a double-page spread with one page of text facing an accompanying photograph. People discusses how natives live, build homes, hunt, farm, as well as what they eat. American Indians, Africans, and Pacific Islanders living in the rain forest are all highlighted. Anna Lewington and Edward Parker's People of the Rain Forests (RSVP, 1998), although for slightly older readers, offers more detail about the subject. The most eclectic of the entries, Protecting the Rain Forest touches lightly on destructive logging, mining, cattle ranching, and farming practices and efforts to improve them. Of note is an apparent contradiction between destructive agricultural practices identified in this volume and the neutral presentation of such techniques as a viable method of farming in People. Since these are not first-priority titles and there is no need to buy the entire set, librarians should evaluate their collections' existing resources to decide which of these books might be needed.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.