The tireless Lauber (Be a Friend to Trees, p. 70, etc.) comes across with another smart effort, this time explaining the distinguishing characteristics of various animal habitats. Lauber looks specifically at five very different places: the seas around Antarctica, the grasslands of Africa, the New England forest, the desert Southwest of the US, and the far north tundra lands. Lauber's explanations are crystal clear, showing an unusual respect for her readers' intelligence. Complementing the text are photographs of plants, animals, and landscapes, as well as maps that give you a sense of where you are. Readers emerge with a real grasp of the habitat -- what animals eat and where they find shelter, plant communities, landscape composition, food chains, seasonal changes. Lauber brings life and insight to the often obscure notions of bioregions and ecounits -- no small feat. The kind of book that has Mother Earth breathing a sigh of relief.