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Editorial Review

A noteworthy review of Our Living World from Booklist on September 1, 2006

Each volume is truly a visual and informational feast for the intermediate-grades researcher. Following a solid definition of the pertinent ecosystem, eight chapters of readable text describe the indigenous animals and plants. Chapters include discussions on the key species, predators, prey, flora, herbivores, and life cycle. One chapter is also devoted to a prominent example of the particular ecosystem, such as the Okefenokee Swamp and the Sahara Desert. Most noteworthy, a chapter entitled ‘The Human Touch’ explores the positive—and the negative—effect man has on each habitat. All entries contain vibrant color photographs and maps, colored sidebars, and a variety of boxed supplemental reference features. ‘Words to Know’ defines new vocabulary and provides pronunciation keys; ‘Would You Believe’ notes interesting facts; ‘Look It Up!’ and ‘Do It!’ direct the users to Web sites. The latter also suggests easy-to-do scientific activities. ‘Read It!’ refers the user (or teacher) to additional sources, which a random search found to be available for purchase or through interlibrary loan. ‘Watch It!’ is the video counterpart. ‘Profile’ highlights a special topic, for instance, such as El Nino, saker falcons, and yaks. A species chart (cross-referenced with the text) and cumulative index complete each volume. Finding good reference sources for younger learners is always a challenge. This set provides a solid, basic overview of its subject matter, and the many extra features make it a wise investment for schools and public libraries alike.

—Cheryl Ward

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