Animal Planet Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals

132p. diag. illus. index. photos. Millbrook. 2013. lib. ed. $35.93. ISBN 978-1-4677-1597-3; ebk. $26.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1692-5. LC 2013001268.
Gr 5–8—Though it is billed as an encyclopedia of animals, this title actually focuses on families of animals rather than individual species. The opening chapter gives a brief overview, explaining the classifications used to group the natural world: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Each class (mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates) is briefly introduced, establishing the order and format for the rest of the book. The title covers popular creatures that readers will recognize. While most of the chapters are spreads about each family, random chapters on behavior ("Caring parents") or features ("Venom and Poison") group animals from various species. Much of the information is presented in sidebars, informational boxes, and factlets along the bottom of the pages, which sometimes makes this book cluttered and better suited for browsing and pleasure reading rather than school reports. There is no glossary, not all vocabulary is explained by the text, and no list of additional sources or websites is provided. The color photographs are attractive, with a mixture of staid portraits for identification and action shots that give an impression of the animals in their habitat. Some smaller photos get lost in the gutter, as do some "Did You Know?" factlets that run along the bottom of the page. This is a suitable replacement for worn-out animal books, but not a necessary purchase.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole P.L., MA

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