If you'd rather walk on the wilder side, The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide chronicles all six animal groups, with special attention paid to conservation efforts for endangered species. Every page includes lush photos and fascinating facts that lend to hours of browsing. One quick flip through the pages reveals that bats can fly at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, and sperm whales have gullets large enough to swallow a human. A gorgeous guide to the animal world, The Encyclopedia of Animals is comprehensive enough to use as a reference, and lively enough for children and adults alike to page through just for fun. Amy Scribner is a writer in Olympia, Washington.