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4.3 out of 5 stars
Chris Packham's Nature Handbook
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
'Real wildlife . . . will enrich your life', says Packham in his introduction; he tells us that he'd 'rather spend ten minutes watching a woodlouse or ladybird in the palm of [his] hand than ten minutes watching a tiger on TV.'
The book is full of simple - and a few more ambitious - suggestions for getting out and seeing the natural world all around you and, as it's so easy to forget, above you. Even in the middle of a city you can usually find a patch of sky but in woodland too, it's always worth looking up at the tree canopy.
While the natural world is so accessible to most of us, whatever our level of expertise and wherever we live, Packham (and, here, his team of writers) always refuses to 'dumb down' when describing its workings. For example, he never uses the term 'mini-beasts' to describe invertebrates to children. As he says, you have to wonder why we shy away from teaching children a proper naturalist's vocabulary when they so easily and ably enjoy the names of dinosaurs.
The book encourages you to take a fresh look at any habitat you find yourself in, starting with the sky and home and going as far afield as the chapperal and tropical rainforest. I might never get to visit the latter but this attractive book makes me I realise how lucky I am to be within 2 hours drive of examples of a huge variety of habitats on coasts, hills, heaths, lakes, rivers and streams. The book is fresh-looking, colourful and delightfully designed - Dorling Kindersley at its best - and it's been a timely inspiration for me.
Nature Handbook emphasises, not that I needed much persuasion, that my enthusiasm for taking my sketchbook wherever I go has to be based primarily in the natural world. So many times when I'm in the city I find myself drawing some mundane subject like the salt and pepper pot on a cafe table, which I've drawn a hundred times before.
As this book convincingly points out, you're never going to get that with the natural world, especially if you make a point of exploring the wide variety of habitats available to most of us within easy access of home. There's always something extraordinary and unfamiliar to draw. Just riffle through the Nature Handbook - or like me, read it cover to cover, as a refresher course in natural history - and you'll get the hang of what to look for wherever you are.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2010
I received this book as part of a present and although I have not read it from cover to cover it is a beautiful book with many colour photos and goes into lots of detail without being too heavy-handed about the natural world. Many, many topics are covered including: the nature of the planet,weather, climate change, what you need to wear when going out into the countryside and what you need for keeping a record, garden birds, butterflies and moths, farm and field,forest, woodlands,bark life,forest birds, different types of fungi, anyway, you get the idea and I am only half way through the book and no, I don't work for Mr Packham!! The book is only about £10 so if you are interested in nature, buy it, you won't regret it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2010
I got this book for my teen daughter who is a budding naturalist and it is super. The quality of the book is excellent, nice heavy paper and wonderful illustrations. As we live in the US, I was a little afraid it would not be as useful to us as someone who lives in the UK, but the author does an amazing job and it makes the book very worthwhile to us living overseas as well. I can highly recommend this book, it is thoughtfully and intelligently written and there really is something for everyone inside. Do yourself a favor and buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2011
Bought as a present for an expert. I had a flick through and think it would be more suited to a novice, I really enjoyed it! A very informative book and the expert may pick up a tip or two!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2012
Bought for my mother who says its very interesting, a really good book. I am sure its going to be borrowed by all the family.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2012
I bought this for my husband who is avid nature lover and a fan of Chris Packham. It's a well presented book with good content and graphics, however, it is aimed at the beginner naturalist. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a basic understanding of natural environments or perhaps a keen child.
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on 3 July 2013
does the job, I bought it for a specific outcome.
It was the only choice appropriate.
In good condition as well
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on 20 February 2015
arrived quickly, item as expected great present thankyou
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on 3 January 2015
A bit warped. Content excellent
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on 15 June 2015
Great book !
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