Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9-Up These updates of earlier books combine meaty surveys of their respective topics with dazzling, well-conceived illustrations. Each one is written by a single, reputable author, and divided into 50 to 60 topical sections. In Planet Earth (earlier title: Earth [1992; o.p.]), Elsom discusses our planet's physical structures, with special reference to the biosphere's effects particularly, changes wrought by humans. Ronan's tour of The Universe (originally: Natural History of the Universe ) includes stopovers at major components of the solar system; a look at the chemical processes necessary for life (as we know it); and introductions to quantum theory, superstring theory, and related endeavors to make sense of the cosmos's decidedly weird underpinnings. Evolution (formerly: From So Simple a Beginning [1993; o.p., all Macmillan]), the most narrowly focused of the three, is still not only an extended general history of life, but also a wide-ranging study of plant and animal structures, behavior, reproductive strategies, and adaptations to change. The illustrations are frequently riveting, ranging from huge, beautiful landscape and nature photos, computer-enhanced shots of or from space, and evocative photomontages to detailed, precisely drawn diagrams and schematic views. Each volume closes with current lists of books and Web sites, and an adequate, if unexceptional, index. The Universe also features a page of thumbnail biographies. Despite a uniform design, these are independent works, with some topical overlap and no cross-referencing among volumes. Use them to expand relevant entries in the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (McGraw-Hill, 1997; o.p.) or as valuable if pricey additions to larger circulating collections serving serious students. John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted., Cahners Business Information
Horn Book Review
To allow the series to be printed in any language, the entire text appears on half pages that alternate with full pages of color photographs. The strikingly well-reproduced photographs will attract browsers, but the uninspired text, which takes a cursory look at various Earth processes, lacks the ability to sustain interest. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.