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Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife Paperback – September 19, 2005
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Over 2,000 species, from the tiny spider mite to the massive blue whale, are profiled in DK's astonishingly wonderful Animal, produced in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution and more than 70 expert zoologists. To call this book "profusely illustrated" is to seriously underrepresent page after page of breathtaking photos capturing each creature in sharp images, thrumming with life. Even the page borders are covered with collages of animal skins to indicate which class of organisms is represented in that section--every inch of this heavy book is gorgeous.
Besides heft and beauty, Animal has authority. Editors-in-chief David Burnie and Don E. Wilson are top biologists, and they have assembled a crack team of consultants for each section of the book. For instance, Richard Rosenblatt of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography takes charge of the chapter on fishes, so all the classification, behavior, and distribution data is up-to-date and full of the kind of detail that comes from years of professional specialization. In addition to basic size, location, and status information, each animal gets a short, one- to two-paragraph description, enough to give a feel for the creature:
The blackfin icefish produces a natural "antifreeze," enabling it to survive in the subzero waters of the Antarctic. It lacks red blood cells and hence looks rather pale, but has excellent blood circulation, and a strong heart which weighs as much as that of a small mammal. Its large, toothy mouth led to it being called the crocodile fish by 19th-century whalers.
Biodiversity has never been more at the forefront of biologists' concerns, and Animal reports on the issues critical to ecology, from habitat loss to the species that are most endangered within each class.
This book is an ideal browsing reference for all experience levels, as well as a delightful addition to the collection of any animal enthusiast or classroom. Of necessity, not all species are covered, but as a general source of information down to the genus level, Animal excels. Don't be put off by the price! Extraordinarily beautiful, biologically accurate, and packed with furry, feathery, finny, many-legged delights, Animal is one of the very best science books of 2001. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Stunning photographs (e.g., of wolves snarling over a half-eaten meal or a falcon's perspective as it perches on a city roof) will elevate this book beyond a coffee-table or reference shelf existence. Every aspect of the book seizes attention. The first 80 pages clarify information on classification, habitats and behavior with charts, maps, photographs and illustrations. The remaining six chapters focus on numerous specific species and subspecies, divided into broad groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates. Readers learn, for instance, that the curlew's long, curved beak is touch-sensitive for seeking out food hidden in mud and sand; plovers, on the other hand, though they share the curlew's habitat, have short bills for picking up food they can see. The editors provide endangered-species information at the end of each chapter. The varying size and shape of the photographs some cropped cleanly around their subject, some showing the interaction of the animal with its environment compel the reader onward, as do the assorted full-page spreads and action sequences (e.g., of a whale breaching). Text entries are both edifying and brief. But for its heft, this book is almost impossible to put down. (Oct.)Forecast: With so much visual and textual stimulus for both children and adults, this title is destined to become a staple in bookstores.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Now, while this is an excellent encyclopedia there are a few minor quibbles that I have with it. Namely that the invertebrates get very short shrift in the book. Invertebrates represent the most diverse and abundant animal life on the planet yet they only get about 73 pages of coverage in a book that is over 600 pages long! In most books of this kind I find a similar bias towards the coverage of vertebrate life over that of the invertebrates so I'm not too suprised to see the same kind of treatment here. Another nit picky quibble I have is that it would have been nice to have seen a "suggested reading" list as well as more info on conservation efforts for various species and habitats. Still, I can't think of a better and more informative (as well as readable) encyclopedia out there and if you or someone in your family likes animals this is a must have addition to your reference library.
The only negative is damaged front and back lower-right corners which, despite a box for protection, earn just a 4-star rating.
The Definitive Guide to the World's Wildlife' is an ambitious and visually spectacular guide that will widen your understanding of the amazing animals with whom we share our planet. It is a reference book, a picture book, and a text of incomparable breadth.It contains a wealth of information about members of each major group of willdlife: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates. Descriptions for each animal group includes facts, photos, and special-interest topics. There is also a fantastic introductory section that examines the many topics that relate to animals and wildlife--habitats, classification, life cycles, behavior, anatomy, and much more.
It's colourfull and a great reference book packed with information. I am so glad he refers to this book rather than just going to the web all the time.
If you want an informative reference book about animals you can't go wrong with this book!