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TREE OF LIFE by Rochelle Strauss


The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth

by Rochelle Strauss & illustrated by Margot Thompson

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-55337-669-2
Publisher: Kids Can

This introduction to the five kingdoms of living things does an excellent job of helping young readers understand how scientists organize and classify all living things. For each kingdom, the author provides a brief introduction, an estimate of the number of species in the kingdom, and thumbnail sketches of unusual or illustrative species. She is quick to acknowledge that scientists continue to discover new species and re-evaluate and classify existing ones. Science enthusiasts will relish the astronomical numbers and odd facts, for example, “there are 350,000 known species of beetles,” and the world’s oldest and heaviest fungi, found in a Michigan forest weighs more than an elephant. The illustrator continues the metaphor of the tree of life by capturing individual species laid out on a leaf, and using an icon of a tree throughout with a portion of leaves highlighted to note the relative number of species in each kingdom. Large-sized, both handsome and useful, this is an outstanding collaboration of author and illustrator. (note to teachers and parents, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)