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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Guide to the Livin' World!!!
I am a man of nature.
So it's no suprise that it only took two minutes after it's discovery to officially want to add this to my compendium collection.
After a week, I manage to find and buy this book at Barnes n' Noble (cost me $50 - you'll get a much better deal on here!)

First off, I'm going to tell you know (though you probably already know), this...
Published on October 17, 2010 by Johnny

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, but only a summary ...buy more DK field guides
Smithsonian Natural History entertains but does not cover any specific topic systematically. It catalogs a wide variety of fields worth further investigation by any aspiring naturalist. The publisher's excellent use of white space highlights page after page of compelling photography.

This book offers a selection of the rich detail and well written descriptions...
Published on November 14, 2011 by ThirstyBrooks


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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Guide to the Livin' World!!!, October 17, 2010
This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
I am a man of nature.
So it's no suprise that it only took two minutes after it's discovery to officially want to add this to my compendium collection.
After a week, I manage to find and buy this book at Barnes n' Noble (cost me $50 - you'll get a much better deal on here!)

First off, I'm going to tell you know (though you probably already know), this book is FREAKIN' BIG!!!! Might as well be a college textbook! You'll need to find some (worthy) space in your bookshelf for it.

Secondly, the sheer number of species (and specimens, mind you) inside these covers in astounding. Compare a book from the same series (DK's Animal for example), which had about 2,000 species in it.
This tome has 5,000 (something you need to see in order to grasp the sheer quantity)! And not just animals... where else could you find a book with rocks, minerals, fossils, shells, microbes, fungi, plants, protists, and animals all in one!
It's taxonomically organized (with the system for rocks and minerals as well) starting with Bacteria & Archaea first, then Protists (yes, it uses the kingdom Protista - something I don't usually favor), then the plants take over for a good portion of the book (any lover of flowers is going to flip out), fungi proceed, then finally come the animals (which takes up half of the book - and I don't even mind). One thing I really enjoy is the fact that this is one of the only plant books I've seen were everything isn't organized for gardeners. And there are some very cool rocks and minerals in here.

Third, the format is reminicent of a Sears/Walmart catalog - the species group is listed, and then specimens abound to every last corner of the page. The photos (and illustrations for some) are wonderful and very clear.

A few "not favorable" things I might add - not all animal groups get coverage, most entries that cover trees do not show the entire plant but simply a branch or leaf, the fish diversity is somewhat limited, and I've already mentioned the kingdom Protista and the dominating Animalia.

But you shouldn't pay attention to these things, because if you're looking for a book with a complete diversity of the world we live in - I would recommend this.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The natural world, October 22, 2010
This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
`Natural History' is, as it claims a visual guide, perhaps not the ultimate, but close and not everything - almost. Its chapter on fish seems a little lean, but most will not notice.
It is a big heavy, over 7 pounds, coffee table book. It does have some stunning pictures and lots of colored illustrations. Most of what it includes are sections on each page with coloured charts, pictures, and illustrations of many elements of the natural world; rocks, ferns, a variety of snails, birds of prey - it is filled with almost any living thing you could think of.
The maps are well done and it will do much to clear up any confusion one has on classifications. You could even accomplish much identification yourself of rocks and birds using its clear pictures.

There are sections on; the living earth, minerals, rocks and fossils, microscopic life, plants, fungi and animals including invertebrates, chordates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
There is a glossary and an index. It is an excellent reference and learning tool and of course has the expertise of the Smithsonian Institute behind it.
This is a book young children could learn from, but adults would not feel `talked" down to.
It would make a great addition to your home, school or as a Christmas present that should get much use.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT DK BOOK!!!!!!!!!!, November 14, 2010
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
The DK science books have set a standard that is hard to beat - and this is one of their best. Great photography and graphic design and just enough info to get you started on any subject. I can't reccomend this book with enough superlatives. An absolute joy!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, but only a summary ...buy more DK field guides, November 14, 2011
This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
Smithsonian Natural History entertains but does not cover any specific topic systematically. It catalogs a wide variety of fields worth further investigation by any aspiring naturalist. The publisher's excellent use of white space highlights page after page of compelling photography.

This book offers a selection of the rich detail and well written descriptions the publisher's guidebooks provide. Smithsonian Natural History does not cover any one field comprehensively. The book's size makes it physically unwieldy for use as a field guide, so this offering will serve best as a coffee table book. The outstanding photography will appeal to children as young as middle schoolers, but the high quality description better matches the needs of readers at the high school level and above.

For those whose appetites for nature study are whetted by this gorgeous volume, the publisher offers many field guides that cover specific topics more comprehensively. To really learn this material, pick one of those field guides and go out and see the world. The publisher's well-photographed examples are important for distinguishing between two similar specimens, but they sometimes overpromise. I wish reality were as fabulous as these books imply, but this photography provides us with the fashion models of the animal world -- reality is a bit more prosaic.

Like a high fashion magazine, this is a great book to page through when you have time to kill, but people are unlikely to read it for its own sake.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book from DK, October 23, 2010
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
I have many of the DK books--History, Animal, Earth, Animal Life, Universe, etc. This book doesn't let you down. It is packed full of beautiful photographs of all different kinds of wildlife. I look at it for hours, and then go back to it and look at it again. It is amazing!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must have book, July 28, 2012
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
This book should be in very household, especially for those households with curious kids. While not a replacement for in-depth texts or comprehensive filed guides, its a wonderful summary of the natural world with fantastic organization and wonderful photography.

However, what is up with the lack of ants? There are three tiny images of ants crammed into a corner of a single page while moths and butteries receive page after page after page. Come on! Ants rule this insect world!! One could easily create a book of this size on ants alone! At the very least they deserve a two page spread. The editors deserve a newspaper across the nose for their shoddy treatment of the world's most amazing insect. I felt that more space could have been devoted to dogs and bears as well.

That's no reason not to get this book. Get it! Just demand more ants in the next edition.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DK Natural History, December 18, 2010
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
The photographs are as glorious as I usually expect in a DK publication (I use their travel guides extensively). The organization and text of this book are also excellent. It is not, of course, a book for reading but a book for reference and browsing. The index and glossary are both god and well developed. It could use a list of references, however. It is not a field manual (it's too weighty and does not include field marks for identification. I keep it in my living room for my grandchildren to browse when they are visiting grandpa. It has been a successful ploy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but not good enough, December 24, 2012
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Matthew Burton (Exeter, New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
I read this book every time I go to Barnes and noble, and while I like it, I am more of an animal not a plant person. It is a great encyclopedia, but I didn't like the way they layed out the animals in the book, id rather see individual capsules for each animal, then them all in a group and small words underneath with arrows pointing to the different animals. Also the pictures aren't as good as the ones in Animal also by DK. I would still recommend this book but after reading Animal I believe that one has a slight advantage over this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bigger sized font for 5 stars, July 24, 2014
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
As with the Smithsonian Earth book that I bought a bigger sized font would have merited 5 stars from us. It still is a great general knowledge reference and an entertaining read as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's funny seeing which animals or plants each guest will flip ..., January 14, 2015
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This review is from: Natural History (Smithsonian) (Hardcover)
Bought this book as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend who loves natural science. We keep it as a coffee table book and our guests ALWAYS pick it up and flip through it whether they're interested in science or not. It's funny seeing which animals or plants each guest will flip to. Sometimes when we're sitting around bored in the evening, we'll pick an animal and find it in the glossary just to look at all the pictures of related animals. This book is MASSIVE and has hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a neat gift.
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Natural History (Smithsonian)
Natural History (Smithsonian) by DK Publishing (Hardcover - October 4, 2010)
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