The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Family of Encyclopedias)

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9780753452837: The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Family of Encyclopedias)
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Meet an amazing menagerie of creatures on this breathtaking safari through the animal kingdom. The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia spans the earth from pole to pole, covering 2,000 animals from the tiniest protozoan to the mightiest mammal. Special feature panels focus on various aspects of animal behavior such as camouflage, migration, and hibernation. Easy-to-use and packed with dramatic photographs and illustrations, this colorful volume is an indispensable reference for school projects and a captivating resource for the whole family. Clear and informative text about all animals from the simplest cells to the most complex animals. Written by award-winning author David Burnie. Excellent reference book for the whole family. Includes glossary, alternative name index, and general index.

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About the Author:

David Burnie is an accomplished zoologist who was a nature reserve ranger before becoming a natural history author and editor. A prolific writer of many books, including several on dinosaurs, he has seen many of his titles win educational awards and science prizes. His titles for Kingfisher include Kingfisher Knowledge: Endangered Planet and The Kingfisher Illustrated Dinosaur Encyclopedia, which was nominated for the Aventis Prize for Science Books in 2002.

From Booklist:

Reviewed with Dorling Kindersley Animal Encyclopedia.

These two single-volume animal encyclopedias are designed for the upper-elementary level and up. In both, the color photographs practically leap off the page and are accompanied by brief descriptions that will activate one's curiosity to look further.

The DK volume begins with a lengthy presentation called "Animal Life" covering such general topics as classification, communication, habitats, and migration. This is followed by "Animal A-Z," where animals are treated in segments of up to three pages. As one expects from DK, the emphasis is on the illustrations, which are accompanied by captions, and short chunks of text and fact boxes that list family, habitation, food, life span, size, and other data. There are almost 150 A-Z entries, many including full-page photographs that show animals in their natural habitats. More than 2,000 species are covered, although the majority are represented only by a photograph. Animals were presumably selected because of their interest to children (and British children at that, because there is a full-page entry for hedgehogs). The text concludes with a glossary and an index.

The Kingfisher volume takes a more scientific approach. Noted naturalist Burnie sets a nice background in his introduction about the characteristics of animals. He includes a couple of pages that depict the classification of animals, followed by two pages that clearly show how all the animals fit into the animal kingdom. Instead of the alphabetical format used in the DK volume, information on animals is arranged by class, from simple animals to mammals. These divisions are further broken down by phylum and subphylum. Within these sections, there is a paragraph devoted to each selected species (more than 2,000 in all) providing scientific name, distribution, and size, as well as a brief description. Sidebars treat topics such as metamorphosis and symbiosis. A glossary and index complete the text.

Photographs and illustrations abound. Each bewitching photo attracts the reader to read the description, and Burnie's descriptions are interesting. He tells us, for example, that most pipe fish swim horizontally, but some swim vertically. The males carry the eggs until they hatch, as do male seahorses. (Could this get a discussion going on the division of labor around a home?) There are several pictures of copulating animals, such as the toads in the section on amphibians. Most adults (parents and teachers) should not find this objectionable and will recognize the natural scientific tone.

In both volumes, the strong visual presentation is likely to attract readers. The DK volume may be more accessible to children in younger grades, while the Kingfisher volume will be appreciated by students who are ready for a more sophisticated approach. Both books are recommended for homes, schools, and public libraries. RBB
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