Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Natural History by DK Publishing

For Earth Day, Dorling Kindersley (DK) is celebrating all the good things that come from the Earth or live on the Earth by offering some discounts on books in its Earthly Pleasures boutique.

Natural History: The Visual Guide to Everything on Earth presents "a unique record of the rich diversity of life on Earth." It displays over 5000 full colour entries from rocks and minerals to plants, animals and microscopic life forms. The book also highlights a number of individual specimens and species allowing the reader to get a closer look at their splendor.

This is such a fantastic book. It's large format allow for lots of gorgeous labelled photographs and tons of information on the various living organisms. It's amazing how many different specimens are represented. I love being able to get up close to organisms that I wouldn't normally see (species from other continents) and/or ones that I'd rather not see up close (i.e. snakes).

The introduction starts off with explanations about the Earth in general, evolution, human impact and traditional scientific classifications. The most interesting part of this section is the "tree of life", which shows how all of the living organisms are related.

After the introduction, the book splits off into 5 sections: mineral and rocks; microscopic life; plants; fungi; and animals. My favourite parts into these sections are the feature profiles which examine a single species from all angles. For example, the white rhinoceros is photographed from the front, rear and side as well as in a relaxed pose showing most of his head and body. There are also close-up shots of his eye, ear, mouth, horn, hide, foot and tail. In addition to the photographs, there's also some general information and a table with size, habitat and diet listed.

While reading the book, I came across an animal that I had seen in our yard a few years ago, but didn't know what it was. This book allowed me to finally identify it. I had mistakenly identified it as a pine marten, but after seeing a great photograph in this book, I now know it was a fisher.

I was also able to identify one of the many mushrooms we had growing in our lawn a few years ago. It's a lawyer's wig. I remember it vividly because I had photographed it a number of times during the day as it matured and changed.

The book also includes a table of contents, glossary and extensive index.

Highly recommended. This book is going to get lots of use in our household.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Natural History by DK, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2010. ISBN 9780756667528 (Hardcover), 648p.

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