Monday, June 20, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Animal Atlas by James Buckley Jr., maps by Aaron Meshon

I'm generally wary of oversize books but this is a really delightful and unique look at biomes that kids will pore over for a long time.

From the beginning, it is explained that this is not your average atlas. Instead of dividing the continents into countries, they are separated into biomes. The introduction also explains the different types of biomes, the travel guides (animals from each continent) and the special information sections - "Surprisingly human" which talks about how animal behavior and "Roar" which addresses ecological concerns.

Asia includes the most variety; rainforest, alpine, desert, grasslands, temperate forest, taiga, and tundra. Each oversized spread talks about unique elements of the biome and features a selection of animals from the area. The continent's chapter ends with a full spread profiling a well-known animal that symbolizes the entire continent, a Sumatran tiger for Asia. Familiar and strange animals are included; African biomes cover dung beetles, lizards, gorillas, and features the Nile crocodile. Europe acknowledges that many people don't think of it as an area for wildlife, but shows that there are still areas with a lot of wildlife, as well as those that have adapted to living with people. Its featured animal is an Old World swallowtail. North America has the most familiar animals, but depending on where readers live they will find something new; especially in the tropical rainforest of Central America. North America's featured animal is a bald eagle. South America is fascinating; it's easy to forget this area is more than rainforest and the book covers the desert, alpine, and grasslands as well and features an anaconda. Of course Australia is always interesting, and, not surprisingly, features a kangaroo. Antarctica has a short section, leaving space for one last biome - marine - which covers both major oceans.

There is a glossary, index, and photo credits included. Meshon's fun cartoons add interest to the photographs and information included and may inspire readers to create their own biome maps. The over-sized book is 16x14 inches but only 96 pages so while it's large, it's not massive.

Verdict: A great addition to your animal section, whether kids gather round it in the library or haul it home. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781618931658; Published May 2016 by Animal Planet; Review copy provided by the publisher

1 comment:

Annette Bay Pimentel said...

My husband and I were just musing over why the lion is called the king of the jungle instead of the king of the savannah. This sounds like a fascinating book!