Grade 3-6-In two-page chapters, these introductory titles briefly describe the subject arachnid's outstanding physical and behavioral characteristics, relationship to humans, and more. The illustrations are profuse and eclectic. Each spread has one to three clear, color photographs opposite a page of text. While most of these pictures show the insects in their natural habitats, some striking shots depict them against a white background; many are close-ups of body parts. Some text pages also include a small photo, while smaller spider images serve as decorations throughout. A sidebar in every other section offers miscellaneous facts. The texts are lucid and well organized. However, some useful information is omitted, and not all species are identified. All three spiders are represented in Jinny Johnson's Simon & Schuster Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders (S & S, 1997) and Jennifer Owings Dewey's Spiders Near and Far (Dutton, 1993; o.p.); however, the information given is, of necessity, brief. While Gail LaBonte's The Tarantula (Dillon, 1990; o.p.) covers much the same information, McGinty's Tarantula has a more succinct text and a greater number of superior-quality, close-up photographs. It also provides more detailed information, particularly on anatomy, than Conrad Storad's Tarantulas (Lerner, 1997) and, again, has superior photographs. Despite some minor flaws, McGinty's titles will be useful additions to natural-history collections.
Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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