Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia
DK Publishing
ISBN: 9780756640279
Grades 3 and Up
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Is it just me, or does it seem that encyclopedias have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time? Lately it seems you can’t turn around without seeing a creative, user-friendly reference section stand-out. “Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia” is part of that crowd. A good combination of browseability and solid “get your research report done” facts. Beautiful photography and a wide assortment of fauna make this one hard to deny. You’re a librarian? You got a reference section? Good. Make sure you put this in it.

The book opens with a few pages of getting started-type info including a table of contents, a description of what an animal is, and information on various types of animal habitats. Introductions out of the way, the book is arranged into color-coded categories for each major animal group. You’ve got your mammals, your birds, your reptiles – you know the drill. Within each category there are sections that get more specific (ie: in the mammals category there is a “Camels and Relatives” section). Inside these smaller sections, individual creatures are highlighted. Symbols quickly provide habitat and endangered species status, along with a infinitely useful little graphic showing the animal’s size in relation to a human. A glossary and index shore up the back of the book.

Photographs are used liberally throughout – this ain’t a visual encyclopedia for nothing. Colorful, close-up, and candid, the photos do their job well.

As with any animal reference, sacrifices have to be made. It won’t surprise you to find out that not every creature is represented here. What results is a combination of most of the popular critters alongside the more obscure. Most students shouldn’t have too much of a problem researching their animal of choice.

Abundantly illustrated and brimming with facts, “Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia” will be a success with young readers. A solid non-fiction selection.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Picture Book of the Day.