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School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up -Each volume begins with the same general introduction, followed by a comprehensive list of the 250 species included. Entries feature several (often large) close-up photographs of the bird and its home, and data on breeding, status, food, and habitat. A panel provides information on length and weight, wingspan, number of eggs, lifespan, and more. A "key features" sidebar offers some fascinating facts while a highlighted map notes the creatures' range. A four-part illustrated sequence in each entry describes some behavior particular to the species-such as mating or hunting habits. Both browsers and budding ornithologists will enjoy learning about some intriguing creatures, such as the African gray parrot, which is no birdbrain; not only does it use tools, but it can also develop a vocabulary of more than 800 words. Volume six includes a simple two-page glossary, brief bibliography, and index of both common and scientific names. In some instances, users will have to do a little work to find what they're looking for; "owl," for example, is not in volume four under the letter "O," as youngsters might expect. However, the index will lead them to separate entries for the nine varieties found in the set. The sophisticated sentence structure and vocabulary make this set most suitable for older students.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public SchoolsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.