Books in the "World of Wonder" series are expensive, but are well worth the price for their gorgeous color photos, the attractive layout of the pages, and the clearly written, fascinating information presented. Photographs can be full-page, half-page, or smaller, tucked into borders of subtle colors echoing details in the pictures. In this volume, the metamorphosis of various creatures (frogs, butterflies, beetles, mussels, fish) is explored, emphasizing the adaptations or major changes in form that help animals survive and reproduce. Young naturalists will be intrigued to discover that the fearsome sea lamprey takes eight months to metamorphose and that both eyes of a flounder are found on the same side of this flat, bottom-dwelling fish. Who could resist the full-page image of a green-spotted leopard frog with its red vein and gleaming black eye or a horned beetle's polished carapace that looks like leather? Chapter headings are clear and helpful; a short glossary and an index are included. While almost any reader could find something of interest here, this attractively produced volume with a striped caterpillar and bright orange Monarch butterfly on its cover would make an especially lovely gift for a child fascinated by the mystery and beauty of the natural world. 2003, Creative Education, Ages 4 to 10.
Barbara L. Talcroft