Tailor-made for the laps of armchair travelers and naturalists, this big but not unwieldy animal atlas offers a huge array of sharp, finely detailed pictures paired to pithy facts and observations.
Grouped by continent and then by habitat type, the selected animals share space on full but not congested spreads with maps, labels and easy-to-retain notes on size, diet, memorable physical features or behavior. Though generally trimmed or cut out, the photos all seem to have been taken in natural settings, and they show each creature at revealing angles or in action poses. Seamlessly interspersed among the multiple photographs on every page are painted images rendered with equal exactitude—mostly more single animal portraits but also composites that extend them, such as a gallery of chimp facial expressions and a visual key to life at different depths along a continental shelf. With little if any duplication of pictures, Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals (978-1-4677-1597-3) presents a similarly teeming survey of the animal kingdom—arranged by class rather than range—with an added section for insects and other invertebrates. In both volumes, unusual creatures, from Baikal seals to the ogre-faced spider, mingle with more familiar wildlife. Though there is much flashing of teeth and mention of prey, scenes of predators actually chowing down are rare and nongory.
Too light on detail to serve as one-stop shopping for school assignments, but visually and intellectually stimulating dives into the natural world. (indexes) (Reference. 6-11)