Monday, May 30, 2016

Non-Fiction Monday: Animal Planet Animal Atlas

Animal Planet Animal Atlas. Text by James Buckley, Jr. Maps by Aaon Meshon. 96 p. Liberty Street, May 2016. 8671618931658. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher) 

Personally, I love atlases. I love the many iterations maps can take - political, topographical, population and so on. I actually mourn the fact that many kids today can't read maps. But I do keep a number of atlases in my library for those very occasional days when I am asked for one.

I cannot say that I have ever read an animal atlas. A quick search reveals that there aren't many. National Geographic published one in 2010 that I somehow missed.  

I was sort of thrilled this over-sized beauty arrived in the mail. It has been awhile since I've gotten to settle down with a book about animals. Coincidentally, I had just finished hosting a fifth grade science class for a few days while they did research for their biomes unit. You can imagine my delight when I cracked open the book to find these words in the introduction: "The maps in this book are a little different. They show the borders of the major biomes of the world." 

The introduction also explains a couple of text boxes and provides an overview of the eight biomes that can be found on nearly every continent. A world map follows the introduction and each continent's travel guides are introduced.

One thing I noted the fifth grade science teacher constantly repeating was the reminder that students look at their assigned biomes in more than one place in the world. It seems that in their research, they tended to stop at the first or the most familiar location without reading a bit more deeply. This book will do much to help his quest for deeper reading.

Starting with Asia, each continent gets its own chapter and sections within each chapter identify the biomes from bottom to top or top to bottom. Each chapter ends with a double page spread called "Where in the World?" that focuses on one animal up close. It includes a super-close-up shot of the animal, a ROAR (Reach out. Act. Respond) box as well as a text box featuring animal facts - common name, scientific name, habitat, and diet. 

The book is well organized and filled with gorgeous full-color photographs and hand-drawn maps. While this will not be the definitive source for researchers, it certainly is a great and inspirational starting point. A glossary and index of animals concludes the volume along with photo credits. I am thrilled to be able to add this to our collection. I will probably need a few more copies. 

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