If you have ever struggled to understand chinese characters or look up a chinese character in a dictionary without knowing the pinyin, or conversely, started noticing that similar words (homonyms, animal names etc) contain some similar character elements and were fascinated, this is the book for you.
It clearly shows the most common chinese radicals in detail.
Each radical (simple, base part of a character... sort of like "road" in English is part of railroad, roadster, roadie etc) has these elements in the book:
-a diagram showing ancient drawing of the character, two more historical developmental steps to show its evolution into the modern character, along with a note of what it is supposed to look like "looks like the crescent moon" "looks like a man sitting down" etc
-the pinyin name of the character and the english meaning
-what sort of words it is found in (words relating to food, to weather etc)
-where it is usually found in characters (ie "usually found on left hand side of characters)
-a strokes order diagram as well as several squares in which to practice writing it yourself, along with the number of strokes
-several examples of characters which use that radical in it, again with pinyin and english meaning. A breakdown of the parts of the character and an explanation of how the meaning of the radical enlightens us on the meaning of the character: this really helps one to retain the meaning
The radicals are in alphabetical order by their pinyin, which enables one to look them up easily on the pages.
And there is a page at the back telling how to look up characters in a chinese/english dictionary if you don't have the pinyin, by radical and stroke number. It is followed by a radical index to this book, very similar in makeup to the radical index in a dictionary. This would help one practice looking up unknown characters in such an index.
All in all, the illustrations and characters and large and clear, the layout is open and approachable, the explanations are simple, clear and short, it is not text heavy like many chinese learning books. One flips through the pages and is drawn in rather than daunted.
An excellent book.