The world at your fingertips Rand McNally attempts to provide a portrait of the planet with its new Portrait World Atlas ($39.95, 0528839950). The Random House Dictionary says a portrait is a verbal picture or description, which, technically, doesn't describe this huge compilation of digitally produced, up-to-the-minute, and easy-to-use maps and index. What is described, and described quite well, is a collection of the Earth's greatest natural wonders, selected from each continent. But the highlight of the atlas is, of course, the maps. For planning trips, tracking world events, or researching homework assignments, an atlas is essential, and this one, not surprisingly, comes highly recommended.

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