cover image Amazing Secrets of Nature

Amazing Secrets of Nature

Robert Dolezal, Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest Association, $29.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-962-258-306-1

From the birth of the stars to the paths of rivers, the art of the cocoon to the science of symbiosis, this big, heavily illustrated volume offers a wealth of information about our natural world. Though it's organized into thematic chapters (""The Price of Survival""; ""The Empire of the Senses""; ""The Magical World of the Sky""), the volume is probably best suited for browsing: the brief and sometimes awkwardly translated mini-essays (the book was originally published in France in 2001) give a taste of the subject area rather than a sustained narrative investigation, and the many illustrations continually draw on readers' attention. Informative and easily comprehensible, if inelegant, the text describes the maternal instinct of the earwig, the sculpting forces of water and erosion, the architecture of birds' nests and the education of young predators, among hundreds of other topics. Adolescent readers, especially, should find this volume compelling.