Gr 5-9Two series entries that feature full-color photographs of three-dimensional models. Taylor introduces the functions of plants and their parts. Some of the topics include: reproduction in flowering and non-flowering plants, growth, defense, animal traps, parasitic plants, and cacti and succulents. Each subject is covered in a double-page spread with a brief introductory paragraph. Generally, there is one predominate photograph surrounded by smaller ones scattered across the page; detailed captions provide more facts. Following the same format, Williams covers the skeletal, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems, as well as the sense organs. Captions for the photographs are unusually clear and concise. The three-dimensional models are limited by their static appearance, but they are, nonetheless, informative. The books do not treat their topics in great detail, but they are compelling for browsing or gaining an overview.Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Glossily photographed, highly detailed, three-dimensional models seem to leap out at readers in this entry in the Inside Guide series. The huge models capture the imagination but don't always make the technical, extremely terse text comprehensible. For example, one sequence of models and captions, explaining how plants make food, describes the structure of the chloroplast. The thylakoids, looking like several stacks of vivid green hockey pucks, are nested inside a double-walled, football-shaped membranethe chloroplast. The food-making process remains a bit of a muddle; many of the specialized terms on that page and others don't appear in the glossary. Still, a sequence of models on the germination of a runner bean seed is of near stand-alone quality, requiring little in the way of captions, and all the models are marvels to pore over, even when they don't make plain the process under discussion. Think of the book as science for the eyes, a companion volume to more competent texts that forge links between what readers are looking at and what they should be seeing.