Zoology: Inside the Secret World of Animals

DK. Oct. 2019. 416p. Tr $50. ISBN 9781465482518.
Gr 4 Up–In contrast to its similarly hefty natural companion Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide, which focuses on types and behavior, this survey is organized around animal body structures and gross anatomy. Arranged in 10 sections, each with a title like “mouths and jaws” or “senses,” single-spread entries mix general overviews with occasional closer looks at a “spotlight species” or a tangential topic, such as fantasy beasts drawn from old bestiaries, prehistoric wall art, or wildlife in Japanese woodblock prints and in Mughal paintings. The illustrations are by far the major attraction here and occupy much more space on most pages than the brief blocks of descriptive text. Typically, each spread features one humongous close-up animal portrait (of everything from beetles to dinosaur skeletons) flanked by two or three smaller photographs or labeled diagrams, all sharply reproduced and aglow with saturated colors. Occasional galleries, group shots, or sequences add visual variety, and following the final section on “eggs and offspring,” a thick appendix with hundreds of smaller images gives the Linnaean classification system a once-over. Humans are not included in the pictures or, except for occasional glancing mentions, in the text. The glossary and index are adequate, but there are no leads to further sources of information.
VERDICT Visually dazzling fare for browsers of any age, and a good source of basic information for readers in upper elementary grades.

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