ROCKS AND MINERALS OF NORTH AMERICA by Sarah Garlick is a 182-page booklet printed on glossy paper. Every page has a 1/3-page color photograph of a mineral, rock, fossil, or landform. All of the mineral photos are close-up pictures of rocks. The corners of the book are rounded, in order to prevent for the formation of dog-ears during use in the field. The graphics of the book are first-rate, in terms of quality of the image and creativity of the layout of the images and text.
CHAPTERS. The book contains an introduction (pages 6-11), which provides definitions of minerals, gems, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and fossils. There are photos of granite, where the granite is caused to be multi-colored because of polarized light. There is a photo of Kinta Lake in Montana, where thousands of colorful stones can be seen in the water by the edge of the lake. The chapters are:
Chapter 1. Minerals (pages 12-55).
Chapter 2. Rocks (pages 56-99).
Chapter 3. Fossils (pages 100-119).
Chapter 4. Structures and landforms (pages 120-171).
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHS. The close-up photos are fine, but there are additional photographs, and these include landscapes, such as a photo of an igneous mountain (Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park) (page 61), an orange cliff made of syenite (page 62), a dark cliff with a white stripe made of diorite (p. 63), a dark spire made of gabbro (p. 64), a light gray cliff made of anorthoside in the Adirondacks (. 65), a light brown mountain made of peridotite (p. 66), a green mountain with snow, where the mountain is made of dunite (Dun Mountain in New Zealand)(p. 67), jagged spire made of rhyolite (p. 68), white cliff made of pumice (p. 69), valley containing obsidian (p. 70), light brown hill made of tuff (p. 71), Crater Lake National Park in Oregon with rock that is andesite (p. 73), jagged cliff made of diabase (p. 74), Devil's Postpile in the California Sierras, made of basalt (p. 75), and so on.
FOSSILS. The Fossils chapter has one page for each type of fossil, and these include petrified wood, graptolite, bryzoan, coral, trilobite, brachiopod, bivalve, plant fossils, gastropod fossil, and so on. Most of the fossil photos have a jet-black background. Each page has a 1/3-page photograph of the fossil, and the lower corner of each page has an alternate photo of the same type of fossil, printed on the white background of the page.
CONCLUSION. I was especially impressed by this book, in that it described many places where I've explored on weekends, and it detailed some of the rocks that have caught my attention over the past few decades. I have devoted myself to the obsidian at Glass Mountain, located just south of Fossil Beds National Monument in northern California. I have visited Crater Lake in Oregon on two occasions. I have visited Devil's Postpile, and have seen similar basalt formations in Oregon and on the Big Island of Hawaii. The book has a page on a landform called, "tafoni," and I have devoted three years of my life to photographing tafoni along the coast of northern California. The book includes a photo of Cathedral Peak in Yosemite, and I have taken the hike to Cathedral Peak. Cathedral Peak is arguably one of the ten most beautiful mountains in North America. The book has a page on sand dunes, and I have devoted two years of my life to photographic sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. Obviously, a book of such a modest size (182-pages) can only provide a sketchy introduction to the topic, but what a magnificent introduction we have here! My only criticism is that the book fails to identify the location of the rocks. The only reason why I was able to identify the locations of some of the landforms is because I have actually been to these places. In other words, without a disclosure of the locations of the photos, the book really cannot succeed as a teaching aid. Hopefully, the next edition of this book will disclose the locations.
I am not sure about the practical use of this book. I suppose that, if the novice finds an interesting rock or mineral in the book, he or she can use this as an inspiration to find more information about that particular topic from college textbooks, geologists, and naturalists employed by America's national parks, and so on. But the problem with this, is that finding information at the layperson's level, regarding geology, botany, animal ecology, and such, is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Local libraries generally do NOT have this type of information. And college libraries do have lots of relevant information, but you require a Ph.D. in the topic to understand the info available from college libraries.