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School Library JournalGr 4 Up
This lavish, ambitious volume contains full-color illustrations of more than 1500 species. Each brief entry includes common and scientific names and mention of an interesting physical or behavioral trait. Range maps show where each animal is found, and conservation data notes which species are extinct, endangered, or vulnerable. In addition to the realistic drawings, there are dramatic photos of animals in their habitats, such as one of a distraught Arctic seal pup caught in a discarded fishing net as its mother looks on. Introductory pages discuss the animal kingdom and classification as well as behavior, senses, communication, habitats, and endangerment. Readers may be alarmed to learn that "Even the great mass extinction 65 million years ago…did not destroy as many species as are dying out now." Subsequent chapters are devoted to mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Chapters begin with discussions of commonalities and differences as well as the reproduction and behavior of each group. Boxed fast facts, diagrams, and visuals of life cycles offer additional information. The small print and the more challenging vocabulary make this update more suitable for older readers than the 2000 edition, which contained fewer species but offered more information about each one. While most species are listed by name in the index, popular creatures such as the lion, tiger, and cheetah appear under "cats" with no "see" references. Nonetheless, animal enthusiasts will go wild for this fascinating, colorful edition, most suitable for browsing.
—Barbara AuerbachCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.