cover image Arms & Armor

Arms & Armor

Michelle Byam, Dorling Kindersley Ltd. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $19 (63pp) ISBN 978-0-394-89622-9

Stunning photography characterizes these Eyewitness Books, each of which brings museum-like collections right into readers' laps. The large format and glossy pages guarantee that no details are lost: the stripes of a banded claystone from East Africa are sharp and clear in Rocks; each diamond and ruby in the jade-inlaid handle of a Persian dagger is delineated in Arms; the intricate bone structure of a porpoise's paddle is perfectly discernible in Skeletons; and each bit of fluff and string in the ``medley of materials'' that makes up a nest is in focus in Bird. Illustrations and inset photographs accompany each spread of objects, which are set on a pristine white background. The unfussy design gives these books a sophisticated look, and each one is an odyssey for readers of any age. Ages 10-up. (May)