cover image Zoo Animals

Zoo Animals

Dorling Kindersley Publishing. Aladdin Paperbacks, $7.95 (21pp) ISBN 978-0-689-71406-1

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Knopf's Eyewitness series is being flattered to a fare-thee-well these days. These four titles in the new Eye-Openers series, developed by Eyewitness creators Dorling Kindersley, possess similar characteristics--radiant color photography, abundant white space, striking graphics. Each spread contains a predominant photo of the creature (or truck), a color drawing of the subject in its environment, a short horizontal border showing it ``in action'' and from four to 10 lines of simple, descriptive text. A nice touch is the inclusion of small-sized drawings that highlight particular features--a cement mixer's trough and ladder, a sow's snout and tail. The text, however, seems to swing from overly specific to somewhat general, as if uncertain of the audience. ``Every once in a while a snake will shed its outer layer of skin'' is a bit vague; and, although one of the drawings is a close-up of scales, the text does not mention that those are, in fact, the creature's ``skin.'' Still, these are enticing entries into a rapidly expanding field. Ages 2-5. (Apr.)