Gr 3-5-An overview of various species and how they live. Each chapter heading gives a general idea of what is included in that section (e.g., "The Bear's Body" and "Eating Habits"). Within each chapter, the text is presented in the form of questions (in boldface) followed by one-to-three paragraph answers. The tone is conversational and lively, and the short blocks are easy to read. Each page also features several full-color, captioned photos. The arrangement will better serve browsers than children looking for report material. Youngsters needing material on a particular species will certainly have to look elsewhere, although this title will be a good secondary source or a starting point. Its eye-catching photos and readable text have a lot of general-interest appeal, and the cover photo of a polar bear on the ice is an immediate draw.-Arwen Marshall, formerly at New York Public Library
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Gr. 4-6. This overview of bears offers a wealth of facts for middle-grade browsers. Illustrated with excellent color photos, the text employs a punchy question-and-answer format that makes it easy to skim, yet readers will absorb information. Individual chapters focus on topics such as habitat; physical characteristics; eating, mating, and sleeping behavior; self-defense; and relationships with people. All bear species are grouped together, so students looking for report information might want to refer to a series such as Blackbirch's Wild Bears!, which examines the species in individual volumes. Although the text is sophisticated in places, the attractive design with plenty of white space will entice struggling readers. Gillian Engberg
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