Hostile Homes

9781482422429. ea vol: 48p. (Extreme Biology). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. 2015. lib. ed. $31.95.
Gr 4–8—A focus on some remarkable aspects of animals and other life-forms, conveyed through text and photographs, makes this set a strong choice for a variety of readers. Organization varies appropriately depending on the topic: Animal Bodies is grouped by classification while Eat or Be Eaten arranges chapters by biomes. Some half-page photographs are set off in frames; others blend into the text page. Most are quite effective, providing strong visual references for the fascinating facts introduced in the text, aided by useful captions. Each spread includes an "Extreme" text box, which adds an extra detail about the featured animal or plant. The octopus spread highlights its protective coloring and shape, for example, and the text box adds more about its beak. Parallels drawn among different plants and animals and even bacteria lead readers to synthesize species-specific details with the surprising commonalities among living things.
VERDICT Great selections for browsers and report writers alike.

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