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READ ALL ABOUT IT! Genetics pound;10.99. Edited by Robert Snedden. Animal Welfare pound;10.99. Racism pound;11.99. Alcohol pound;11.99. Fashion pound;10.99. Edited by Adam Hibbert. Drugs pound;10.99. Edited by Emma Haughton and J Rees. Franklin Watts

On paper, it must have seemed a good idea. Take six subjects that interest students and receive huge press coverage, select and edit archive stories and features, then present the results between covers that, while promising excitement, also urge readers to assess the contents for bias and prejudice.

But success often lies less in an idea than in its treatment, and with the Read All About It! series the treatment is wanting. While each of the six books explores potentially exciting material, the presentation is uninspired and the questions for debate are perfunctory.

Alcohol is typical. While articles on subjects as varied as Arsenal footballer Tony Adams's former alcoholism, the possible effects of alcohol advertising, drink-related workplace absenteeism and being drunk in charge of a vessel, brim with promise, the dreary black and white layout, grainy pictures and a few concluding questions will scarcely animate students.

Fashion is cut just as crudely: the increase in teenage anorexia, the necessity (or not) for school uniforms, supermodels' earnings, exploitation of workers in the developing world - articles on these and other issues are in a style so dull it will make eyelids droop.

"Sit down and enjoy a good newspaper", reads the back cover blurb on each book. A good newspaper guides readers through its pages using interesting pictures, amusing headlines and varied content. Some of the articles in this series are worth a read and could lead to constructive debate, but such stale presentation will have members of the internet generation struggling beyond page one.

Laurence Alster

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