Together with Dougal Dixon's companion volume that publishes simultaneously, Dinosaurs
(ISBN: 978-0-7534-6402-1), this entry in the Explorers series seeks to keep readers' attention with pictures, digital illustrations, short snippets of information and labeled panoramic scenes. But the series's two major gimmicks are fatally flawed. "What is this?
" thumbnails ask readers to identify an object (an anemone, a sea urchin) from its close-up, but in most cases that object either cannot be found on the page or is not identified. Color-coded icons connect similar topics throughout the text, allowing readers to follow their own interests, but it can often be a challenge to make those connections—they are tenuous at best. Both books feature vibrant photos and illustrations, but in the case of this title, the juxtaposition of real photos with digital illustrations can be jarring. Backmatter includes more facts that fit into each icon category and an index. Fascinating facts and a broad background of information would make these good introductory nonfiction choices, but their flaws limit both their use and appeal. (Nonfiction. 7-11)Read full book review >