cover image Primates


Sarah Lovett. Avalon Travel Publishing, $9.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-1-56261-018-0

Describing the extremes among reptiles and primates is not just a titillating device in these new Extremely Weird titles, but a way of defining the parameters of a class or order as a whole. The varieties of reptile camouflage, for example, are illustrated by the Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko and the Short-horned Chameleon; of feeding, by the Green Tree Python and the Komodo Dragon. The three-ounce Pygmy Marmoset and the 300-pound Lowland Gorilla reveal the range of primate sizes. Each animal is portrayed by a full-page color photo and a short description of size, habitat and the eccentricities that make it ``extremely weird.'' Illustrated sidebars expound on the creatures' weird relatives or provide tidbits on conservation, mythology and more. Text, photographs and biological illustrations (of the specific subjects) contribute to portraits of individuals and a species that are both succinct and intriguing, as is the books' design. The clumsy, cartoony text illustrations of creatures in their environs, however, are amateurish and frequently confusing. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)