Following two titles focusing on birds and rocks and minerals (both 2016, not reviewed), the Ultimate Explorer field-guide series continues to expand.
With its compact trim, strong visuals, and easy-to-use table of contents, glossary, and index, this guide is meant to accompany kids on their adventures. Color-coded circles that divide the groups into crocodilians, turtles, lizards, snakes, salamanders, and frogs and toads surround each animal’s photo. Making identification even easier, there’s a “Quick ID Guide” in the back that provides thumbnail pictures and page numbers. For each entry, readers will learn both common and Latin names, habitat, size, range, food, and some interesting facts. Labeled drawings also point out identifying features. Various double-page spreads break up the guidebook and focus on general facts, such as how snakes move, for example, and frog metamorphosis. Publishing simultaneously, Night Sky highlights the sky above us, the solar system, our galaxy, the seasonal sky, the zodiac, and 41 constellations, each of which is represented by both a star chart (labeled with named stars and each one’s brightness) and a drawing with the outline of the shape. Younger readers may not be able to take in all the information presented, but the charts are easy to read, and the history and tales presented are interesting. As with any NatGeo title, the photos are top-notch, though some of them are quite small.
Children will get more from their explorations with these guides along. (Nonfiction. 8-12)