School Library Journal (Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library )
Unusually large, clear, full-color close-ups give these basic introductions a cachet of realism. In each title, a full-page photograph of the type of invertebrate profiled alternates with a page of text in large, easy-to-read print; scientific terms are introduced in bold-face. Each book briefly describes general physical and behavioral characteristics common to all species, special characteristics of a few, method of locomotion, habitat, diet, life cycle, defense mechanisms, and natural enemies. All of the texts are clearly written, with a minor exception in Snails. Here, the author fails to state precisely where the animal’s eyes are located and they are not completely visible in the accompanying photograph. The books also omit some useful information. For instance, not all of the species are identified by common names in the captions. As information on ticks is slight, Merrick’s title will help fill a gap, although it does not include symptoms of infections. Bits of information on some of the same species of caterpillars, snails, and walkingsticks are available in general introductions to invertebrates, such as Doug Wechsler’s Bizarre Bugs (Cobblehill, 1995), but the material is more detailed in Merrick and Murray’s titles. The remarkable photographs will make these books useful additions to natural-history sections of most libraries.
—Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
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