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Essays on such major biomes as coniferous forests, tundra, oceans, deserts, and rain forests describe the ecosystem, climate, soil, vegetation, animal life, and the effect of the environment on each biome.
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Gr 5-8-A preferable alternative to Biomes of the World (Grolier, 1999), both for its greater number of specific examples and for the repetitive, but not identical, lists of books, addresses, and Web sites at the end of each chapter. The two resources are similarly structured, with systematic overviews of distinctive climatic and physical characteristics, as well as surveys of plant and animal life for each biome, followed by closer looks at selected locations. However, Weigel examines more of the latter. She also inserts plenty of boxed charts and fact lists. A comprehensive index to each volume facilitates quick reference. The illustrations are the Achilles' heel: the biomes on the endpaper maps do not correspond to those within; color photos, confined to inserts in each volume, are neither indexed nor of good resolution; and the black-and-white pictures and maps are dark, even murky on occasion. Nonetheless, to serious students of the biosphere's complex systems, the less-than-stellar visuals will be outweighed by the methodical presentation of information and the links to further resources.-John Peters, New York Public Library
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