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Too lightweight for adults
on 12 February 2014
I wanted to like this book, I love nature, I spend much of my life in the outdoors and am always hoovering up facts and folklore and looking for more. This book however is just too lightweight for me.
Whilst there are some gems of information in there, they are vastly outweighed by pages and pages of stuff that is just (to me) common knowledge or culled from sources so popular its hard to believe any nature lover won't have come across them before (eg the animals David Attenborough chose to save in the TV series Attenborough's Ark; or the fact that Charles Darwin came up with the Theory of Evolution).
Others have questionable links to nature (eg a list of the world's largest beef consumers by nation).
Still others seem a bit morally dubious (eg a recipe for how to make bird's nest soup - made from the nests of the hugely over-exploited Asian Swiftlet)
It is also quite American centric which surprised me (eg lists of American national parks and American state animal mascots.)
When you do get an interesting little tidbit, it is usually exactly that, a tidbit of information that is quickly skimmed over with no satisfying weight to it. (I'm possibly being too harsh here, the book is clearly intended to only have short articles, but it is frustrating just how short they are at times)
Most of the stories feel like they've been plucked from a news headline - in fact they often read like a nature column in a local newspaper which is regurgitating popular nature news features.
its not bad exactly - as I say there are some really interesting bits (eg how researchers recognise individual turtles; why birds will happily eat peanuts covered in chilli powder).
It would probably be a great book for a child or young teenager but if you're intending it for an adult nature lover I'd maybe look elsewhere.