Booklist (Carolyn Phelan)
From the Naturebooks series, these volumes introduce animals in a simple, effective format. Each book focuses on one family of animals, such as garter snakes, lemurs, reindeer, or earthworms. A typical spread includes a full-page photograph facing a page with a few short paragraphs of large-print text. Coverage includes the animal’s physical characteristics, habits, and habitat, as well as its special features or state of endangerment. Lemurs describes a variety of tree-dwelling primates that live only on Madagascar and Comoro. Garter Snakes focuses on the most common type of snakes in North America, ranging from the Arctic into Mexico in every habitat except the desert. Tighter editing would have improved the texts – for instance, the largest lemur is said to be ‘about the size of a dog,’ a vague description given the difference between a Chihuahua and a Great Dane. Still, the writing is generally clear and informative. Preschool and primary-grade teachers will appreciate the books’ colorful, close-up photos of animals. An attractive nonfiction series divided into subseries on Backyard Animals (such as garter snakes), Rainforest Animals (such as lemurs), and Polar Animals.
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