The Encyclopedia of North American Animals

Author: Bryan Richard

Published By: Barnes & Noble Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I love animals.  Ever since I was a child, I loved to learn about animals, visiting zoos, reading books, and watching television shows to soak up more about the vast variety of animals all over the world.  My interest in animals has never waned.  Unfortunately, all of the books I had on the various species of animals in the world stayed with my parents when I left home.  Thus, I searched for new books to quench my thirst for knowledge of the animal kingdom.  When I purchased The Encyclopedia of North American Animals from Barnes & Noble, reading it became my summer project.

            The Encyclopedia of North American Animals contains brief descriptions of over four hundred species of animals found in and around the United States, Canada and Mexico.  The descriptions include scientific names, identifying markers, average size and weight, habitat, and similar species as well as interesting characteristics, mating habits and more. 

            The biggest feature in this book for me were the illustrations.  In my searches for books about the animal kingdom, I have been disappointed to find that most books contains tiny descriptions with drawings of the animals if they have any pictures at all.  I like to see the animal Iím reading about and I like more information than their usual colors and size.  I want to know interesting things about the animals and see them in their natural habitats.  That, in particular, is what drew me to this book.  Each photo is large and clear and comes complete with a diagram of the animalís range of habitats throughout North America.

            I was particularly pleased to discover that the book didnít just cover your average animal kingdom species like bears, cats, birds, and the like.  Instead, this book was broken down into sections that covered mammals, hoofed mammals, marine mammals, turtles and tortoises, lizards and snakes, crocodilians, frogs, toads and salamanders, birds, invertebrates, freshwater fish and marine fish.

            At 375 pages filled with information, this book is not for a lightweight - which is why it became my summer project to complete.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the variety of animals that make their home in and around this continent.  Perfectly illustrated and highly informative, this book reminds me of the books I owned in my youth written in a more mature style.  I would love to read about the animals found on other continents and hope that Barnes & Noble Books will consider publishing an encyclopedia for South American, Australian, Asian, European, African and Antarctic animals.  The Encyclopedia of North American Animals is a perfect addition to any animal loverís book shelves.


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