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.