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The Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Life    by Graham Banes order for
Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Life
by Graham Banes
Order:  USA  Can
Kingfisher, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

From fast-breeding bacteria and mayflies whose existence is measured in minutes or hours to other organisms (like some trees that can live a very, very long time), the life spans of the flora and fauna that you'll find on Earth cover a wide range.

This beautifully illustrated book offers an overview of the variety of life on Earth. The author's unique and imaginative approach is to organize all these species by their life spans. He explains, 'The encyclopedia is divided into five main sections, which include three different types of double-page spreads ... Throughout the book, the species are organized into four groups.'

Color coded, the groups are 'microorganisms, plants and fungi, invertebrates, and vertebrates'. You'll also notice that circles are used to indicate life cycles for species that go through a number of developmental cycles while squares are used to highlight the actual life spans. For example, for a hippo it would be between 40 and 50 years.

The main sections of the book are arranged by life span. It begins with 1-7 days, moves on to 7-30 days, 1-12 months, and ultimately ends up at 5,000 + years.

Graham Banes' novel approach to looking at species, how they might interact and the roles they play on the planet make this a resource you'll certainly want to have at home or in the classroom. It is a powerful educational tool that references science, biology, history and geography.

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