Children's Literature - Triss RobinsonIn "The Wild World of Animals" series, the book on parrots is beautifully done. These birds are the most colorful tree birds in the world. There are more than 350 species. The colors of their feathers are green for good camouflage, to brilliant blue, yellow, and red, which help them blend in with the many flowers and fruits. Most parrots are found in tropical forests but a few varieties live in the dry country of Australia, the pine forests of Mexico, or even the snowy mountains of New Zealand. All parrots have one very interesting trait: they have a hooked bill that is hinged at the top. This allows the parrots to open their mouths very wide. The bill is used as a third foot to help them grab on to branches as they climb. They also use one foot to hold food up to their bill while standing on the other one. Hundreds of years ago people liked to use the parrot's colorful feathers for fans, hats, and dresses, causing some species to become extinct. Today many people are working to protect the parrots and their habitats. Using both pictures and text on each page makes the information easily understood by any reader, young or old.
School Library JournalGr 3�5
Spectacular color photography dominates these general introductions, but the information is limited. Particularly good are the pictures of dolphins breaching water, leaping high into the air; a head shot of a scarlet macaw delicately eating a piece of fruit; and a full-body shot of a large, coiled snake, its scales gleaming. Narrow columns of text are set against pastel backgrounds and overlaid on the photos; like sidebars, placement is most often on the far left or right of the pages. Each title briefly describes the major physical and behavioral characteristic shared by all of the animals, some distinctive characteristic of a few species, habitats, diets, birth and care of young, etc. The last sections outline the animals' relationship to humans, e.g., their appearance in myths and folklore, commercial exploitation, etc. Although the books are clearly written, the space allotted to the texts is relatively small; as a result, there is little detail on any subject. Also, while the photos are of outstanding quality, they are often only tangentially connected to the texts, particularly in the first two titles. For example, in Parrots , a column discussing how the birds' best defense against predators is flying in flocks accompanies a shot of a single macaw in flight. Picture captions, which are tacked on to the bottoms of texts, are set in very small print, which some children will find difficult to read. Students doing research will have to go elsewhere for more facts about these animals.
Karey WehnerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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