Nature by Design

Bruce Brooks, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $13.95 (74p) ISBN 978-0-374-30334-1
The wit and impressive subject mastery of novelist and nonfiction writer Brooks ( The Moves Make the Man ; On the Wing ) once again produces eye-opening results in the new Knowing Nature series. Predator! portrays nature's bizarre and brilliant weaponry on parade. This arsenal of equipment and behavior that maintains the food chain balance of power humbles the imagination: an archerfish shoots bugs out of the air with his built-in, precision ``blow gun.'' A meek bombardier beetle becomes a major menace as he discharges fireworks compounded from his body's chemicals. Tamer, but no less intriguing, is Nature By Design 's testament to animals as architects. Some creatures manufacture their building materials within their bodies. (Imagine a carpenter who ``rolls his shoulders . . ., gives a little grunt, and then pulls the exact piece he needs from a slot between his shoulder blades.'') Termites engineer heating and cooling systems that rival New York City skyscrapers. Both books--replete with superb photographs and engrossing captions--provoke deeper thinking about man's responsibility to the animal environment. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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