Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML language for specifying object-based graphics. "SVG Essentials" provides an excellent introduction to the language as well as a wealth of reference information. The book starts off with a simple introduction to SVG by drawing a rather simple cat. Okay, so it looks like a five-year-old's drawing, but this isn't a problem. Other texts start off with some incredible masterpiece which you would never be able to produce yourself; this one starts off with a clear, to the point, simple image which can easily be understood. The rest of the graphics are the same -- rather than attempting to dazzle the reader with eye candy, the author provides useful graphics of the kind you are likely to create yourself. The sections on shapes and gradients are equally down to earth and useful. All examples are well selected, and are not put in purely for the drool factor. The effects section should probably be longer -- the W3C specification contains a wealth of mathematics and very little useful description. The second half of the book covers animated SVG, converting to and from SVG and serving SVG from Apache. The code here is more in-depth and less suited for beginners, but for people familiar with the basics of dynamic content generation it should be helpful. The book assumes that the reader is familiar with XML, although an appendix provides a very brief introduction to the language. Readers with no knowledge of SGML or XML may find another text on one of these languages useful as a companion.