Divided into short, easy-to-read chapters and heavily illustrated with superb photographs, these two series volumes are designed to introduce upper-elementary and beginning middle school students to the tallest mountain and the longest river in the world. The books deal briefly with such topics as the local flora and fauna, the geology of the region, the indigenous people, the history of European exploration in the area, and current opportunities for tourism. They then conclude with chapters dedicated to the environmental impact of human beings, emphasizing the detrimental effects of too much tourism in the case of Mount Everest and commercial development in the case of the Amazon. Kalz's Mount Everest resolutely avoids any mention of the political controversies endemic to the area, rather disingenuously referring to Tibet as "a self-governing region of southwestern China." This volume is also marred by occasionally awkward language. On the positive side, the first two men to reach the top of the mountain, native Nepalese climber Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary, receive essentially equal billing for their joint triumph. Fitzpatrick's Amazon River hints at the problems of the region's indigenous people, mentioning, if only briefly, their serious mistreatment in the nineteenth century, but it too avoids any discussion of contemporary problems other than those connected to the environment. Both books contain a page of Quick Facts. In the case of the Mount Everest volume, these facts include maximum elevation, location, geological age, average temperature, first persons to reach the summit, deadliest climbing season, and other bits of information. Amazon QuickFacts include the river's source, its average width and widest point, the names of its earliest European explorers, as well as the average temperature and rainfall. What lift these books above many other similar volumes, however, are the photographs. Amazon River features a close up of a piranha sure to please the most bloodthirsty sixth grader, as well as wonderful photos of parrots and tree sloths. Mount Everest also features some fine portraits of animals plus a series of interesting historical photos of various early explorers and climbers. Both volumes also include fascinating pictures taken from outer space. Overall these books break no new ground, but they would make solid additions to any elementary or middle school library. They are joined by series books on the Grand Canyon, the Northern Lights, the Great Barrier Reef, and Victoria Falls. (Natural Wonders of the World). VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2005, Creative Education, 32p.; Glossary. Index. Photos. Maps. Appendix., PLB . Ages 11 to 14.