Critters of ____ Pocket Guides

State-specific guides are nice in that they are smaller, more manageable, and being state-specific, you don't get your hopes up for seeing that crazily-crested neon orange woodpecker just because its territory might overlap into your state. These particular guides are great for kids especially, being hand-sized with large, full-color photos of each "critter", fairly uncomplicated text, and succinct information about each species, listed in a logical order. Following a short introduction to the state and its wildlife, two pages explain how to use the guide and interpret the symbols used. The bulk of the book, then consists of about 50 two-page spreads, featuring a particular animal. The left-hand page features a large, full-color photo of the animal (if a bird, both sexes are pictured), with several interesting facts listed beneath it. The opposite page includes the common name, scientific name, as well as brief descriptions of the "critter's" size, habitat, range, food, den, young, predators, tracks, and migration (if applicable), as well as a visual description of the animal. The tracks of the animal are shown at the bottom right, and the general time the animal is active, as well as a size comparison with an average human is featured in the bottom left. By the way, "critter" appears to include mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects, by definition. A sighting guide, where you can record when and where you saw each of the animals listed in the book, as well as a glossary are included at the end. While not a comprehensive guide to all wildlife one could find in a state, these are great for hitting the commonly-found "critters" indigenous to a certain area. These would be great for arming the kids with for a first pocket guide, or inexpensive enough to purchase for a state you are visiting on vacation. - Jess

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