Above all else, be curious about what you see around you,"" exhorts Simon at the start, but his notion of encouraging such an attitude is to throw a high proportion of interrogative and imperative sentences in with the declarative. (""Place a bit of food a short distance from an ant nest. . . . What does the ant do? . . . Do other ants come soon?"") And certainly the book's tacky format and dull gray pictures, which just by their coloring make the city habitats even drabber than they are in reality, won't arouse much interest. (Nor will the depictions of various city birds be all that helpful as identification.) The specific questions and suggestions that Simon puts forward in connection with insect observation could help open the eyes of children who are directed that far by a teacher, but they'll need such an external shove before they're likely to ""make a list of all the animals that you find in your neighborhood,"" as he charges at the end.