Birds | Britannica Illustrated Science Library
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Though not for sale individually, the volumes in this unnumbered set are stand-alones that could also be at home in circulating collections. In each one, anonymous authors cover in the same number of pages an area of physical science, beginning (if taken in Dewey order) with "Universe," ending with "Space Exploration," and along the way surveying earth sciences, plants, animals, human biology (in two volumes), evolution and genetics, energy and movement, space, and technology. Arranged in single-topic spreads, the information is presented in a strongly visual way, with scattered blocks of text placed amid seamless blends of big, vivid photos and digitally created cutaways, exploded views, close-ups, and diagrams. That information, though current enough to include mention of the iPod iTouch, is often hard to find, however, as the volumes have individual indexes but no cross-references, and facts are not always given in a systematic way. In Energy and Movement, for instance, gravity is rightly described as "one of the four fundamental forces observed in nature," but readers will have to check Universe to find out what the other three are. Also lacking bibliographies or links to online resources, these titles score high marks for visual appeal, but qualify for, at best, only supporting roles for assignments or general inquiry.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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This set covers subjects pertaining to the fields of earth science, life science, and physical science. Each volume is devoted to a single topic and could serve as a stand-alone title. The topics covered by the individual volumes include Birds; Energy and Movement; Evolution and Genetics; Fish and Amphibians; Invertebrates; Mammals; Plants, Algae, and Fungi; Reptiles and Dinosaurs; Rocks and Minerals; Space Exploration; Technology; Universe; Weather and Climate; Volcanoes and Earthquakes; and two volumes on the human body. The set is correlated to the fifth- through ninth-grade science curriculum. Each volume begins with a brief introduction to the subject matter. Following the introduction, the volumes are then generally arranged into four or five sections or chapters. For example, the chapters in Fish and Amphibians are “General Characteristics,” “Life in the Water,” “Diversity,” “Amphibians,” and “People, Fish, and Amphibians.” Each chapter contains a series of double-page spreads on specific topics and includes a mini table of contents to guide users in navigation. The layout of all of the volumes is vibrant and attractive. There are more than 1,000 colorful graphics appearing in each book, and large, vivid photographs and computer-generated images appear on every page. The stunning visual layout places this set in a class by itself and makes it especially appealing for casual browsers. All of the illustrations include annotations that nicely supplement the minimal text. In addition, the text is written for the less well-informed reader and should be accessible to all. Each of the volumes concludes with a glossary providing full definitions as well as a volume index. There is no comprehensive index. This set would be a worthwhile addition to any science collection serving students in grades five through nine. It complements more traditional science encyclopedias such as the 13-volume Word Book Student Discovery Science Encyclopedia (2005), which offers short entries (including biographies) in an A–Z format as well as more than 60 science experiments. Grades 5-9. --Maren Ostergard
"This set would make a superb addition to any school or public library." --Library Journal, April 1, 2008
2008 Teacher's Choice Award for the Classroom Winner --The Learning Magazine, August 2008