- Series: Smithsonian
- Hardcover: 648 pages
- Publisher: DK; 15374th edition (October 4, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756667526
- ISBN-13: 978-0756667528
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 1.6 x 12.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Natural History (Smithsonian) 15374th Edition
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-A dazzling visual introduction to natural history. This oversize volume, which marks the centennial of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, begins with an explanation of how the information is arranged, including a discussion of the measurements, icons, and abbreviations used throughout the text. The first chapter offers a brief introduction to Earth, and its geology and life-forms, followed by separate, extensive chapters devoted to minerals, rocks, and fossils; microscopic life; plants; fungi; and animals ("the largest kingdom"). Each chapter consists of sections representing major taxonomic classifications and within these sections lower taxonomic groups are discussed. Numerous pictorial galleries highlight varieties of specific species. Scattered throughout are feature profiles that offer in-depth analyses of single specimens (white water lily, cane toad, etc.). Pages dedicated to a specific life-form include a chart that indicates phylum, class, orders, families, and species. The information provided for each entry (both common names and Latin names are included) is generally brief and limited to two or three sentences. The stunning color photographs (totaling more than 5000) and the volume's encyclopedic approach make it a welcome addition.-Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* An introductory visual guide to the natural world, this volume’s strength rests with original and compelling photographs and illustrations. A team of distinguished scientists renders the accompanying text informative yet concise and accessible to nonspecialists, including students and general readers. Six chapters make up the book. In the first, “Living Earth,” copiously illustrated introductory essays on topics such as climate change, evolution, and classification provide context. This is followed by chapters on “Minerals, Rocks, and Fossils”; “Microscopic Life”; “Plants”; “Fungi”; and “Animals,” offering picture galleries that profile about 5,000 specimens and living species ranging from topaz to oyster mushroom to sperm whale. Each chapter is divided into sections representing major groups (for example, “Invertebrates”) with an introduction highlighting the characteristics that define the group. Each subgroup (“Sponges,” “Insects”) also has its own introduction. For living species, “Classification” boxes display the current taxonomic hierarchy. Picture captions provide information such as size, habitat, and distribution. Topics of debate are interspersed in sidebars throughout the text; for example, “Did monocots have aquatic origins?” and “Are birds dinosaurs?” The remarkable color photographs and illustrations, commissioned for this work, depict the natural world in its amazing beauty and diversity. In “Feature Profiles,” close-up photographs provide detailed images of some of the world’s most interesting species, such as the fly agaric mushroom, the Mexican red-kneed tarantula, the Aldabra giant tortoise, and the six-banded armadillo. Appendixes include a 4-page glossary and a 24-page index of scientific and common names. Extensive scope and exceptional photographs distinguish this ambitious work. Succinct commentary, notable for its clarity and authority, deftly burnishes the visuals. Highly recommended for high-school and public libraries. --Nancy Cannon
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Top Customer Reviews
There is always something to learn. I, for instance, learned that flowering plants evolved well before the great extinction of the dinosaurs. There are fossils of oak trees that far back. More than that, probably because they reproduce by seeds, it appears that plants survived that event better than animals.
This book gets a lot of attention from guests to my home in Ukraine. It is the kind of thing that Americans continue to do well. I am gratified to add that it is delightfully low-key on sensitive topics such as global warming. They simply want to display nature in all its glory, and do a great job.
The only part that i found disturbing is the chapter about insects, pictures of bugs in full page are quite spooky and some of them are not really good looking...so i just put 2 pieces of paper between this chapter to not bump into it. I like insects, beetles, spiders and many others but some of them are really repulsing for the eyes.
A great coffee table book that will give you plenty of inspiration.
This book is filled with beautiful photos and simple to read info ! It's perfect for reference or study.
Please send this book to our GA congressman who does not believe in evolution. The schools in Georgia prohibit to mentioned Darwin's discovery as fact, they still treat it as theory, funny ...
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.