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5.0 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 2 October 2010
It is difficult to see how this book could be produced for under £100. The sheer volume of excellent quality photos, with just a handful of painted illustrations is beyond comprehension.There is just sufficient information provided to make every page interesting. For the low price that this book commands, no bookshelf should be without a copy. Just one compaint - don't expect to use it for bedtime reading, as the exceptional weight will probably deter you from lugging it upstairs !
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on 4 March 2016
All I can say is WOW. There are literally almost no words to describe how amazing this book is. I bought it as a present at a very good price of £20 and I agree with other reviewers who say this book should cost much more. First of all, it's huge and it covers tons of stuff. You can check out the video attached to the description and images of this book on Amazon to see what I'm talking about. The video is a very good indicator of what you're getting but nothing beats the feeling when you're holding it in your hands. I was like, oh my God, totally in awe. Anyone, not just a nature lover, will love this book. It can be a great coffee table book (if your coffee table can handle the weight of it) for your family and your guests. It's thanks to this book that I discovered DK Publishing and I think that of all their books I've seen, this one is the most beautiful. If you can get it at a decent price, don't hesitate to buy it. Everyone should have a book like that.
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on 14 May 2017
Another great DK book, the only issue I have is there could have been small profiles of trees to accompany those images of the leaves. Apart from that a super family reference book with splendid images and information. Highly recommended..
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on 18 May 2017
Stunning - every home should have one
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on 18 May 2017
First purchased as a present and once my son saw it I had to get one for him as well. He has been going through the pages every day since and I can say it is amazing book to have at home.
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on 26 June 2017
Perfect the price is amazing the quality it beautiful perfect for any explorer or children to explore has everything they need to know and more!
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on 2 October 2015
Stunning close-up photos covering multiple parts of nature and loads of info. Enormous book. Great present or coffee table book.
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on 10 November 2010
This astonishing and breathtaking book marks the pinnacle of natural history publishing. With the growth in multimedia technology this book is unlikely ever to be surpassed by another work of print alone. The rich deep natural colours of the photographs, the clear and concise prose make it an accessible book for all age groups from 7 years upwards. Many of the articles and pictures inspire further research and study, and the sheer pleasure of holding and browsing this book will make you want to keep it close to your favourite armchair.
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on 18 February 2011
First of all this is a BIG book at 648 pages with 5000 images. It is truly encyclopaedic and it is obvious from the outset that it has been put together by some very clever people. It does not shy away from some hard science, as it reflects the natural world through the currently recognised "taxonomic" classification. What an endeavour - the whole of natural history (including rocks and fossils) in one tome!

Now there are probably 10 million plants, animals and fungi out there, so how can you chose what to include. Well the answer is you get some of the familiar and some of the oddities to try to reflect the true diversity of life. So when I looked at this book I looked for some of my old friends (yes there were some there) then, once reassured, could revel in the new-but-familiar, and many down right weird ones.

Order runs through scientists like the proverbial Brighton through the rock, and this books oozes this systematic scientific approach to the natural world, but in an easily understood way.

Each page contextualises the plants and animals into their kingdoms, classes, orders etc.. Each species is given its full English and scientific name and a short description, including identifying features and where it is found. Sometimes its habitat is also mentioned. In addition to these, each order has a more detailed description and for some species there are feature articles. This nicely breaks up the book's structure to provide a deeper insight into some of the "stars".

The pages of this book remind me those exciting, and slightly secret, museum specimen cabinets that most people ignore, but which invite the curious to open the up and peak inside. Each drawer holds another set of wonders from some far away place and the specimens speak of adventures in hot climes, where the only company is the leech and mosquito. However don't get me wrong - this book is not fusty and dull - its vibrant and exciting. Each page stands out with brilliance displaying a wondrous range of species.

It is a book that will particularly appeal to a younger audience who have, or are acquiring, an interest in the natural world. However don't think that only they will enjoy it. I suspect that it also may act as the catalyst for an interest not previously discovered. I really hope so, as what more can a book offer than to open a door to a lifetime of delight in the plants and animals that we share this planet with. Who knows, maybe the next David Attenborough is out there and will be inspired by this book.

This is not a book to use to enable you to identify species, per se, but enables the reader to get a thorough overview and helps contextualise them.

Do I have any criticisms? Maybe a a few small ones - I would have liked to have seen more detail at the front of the book about each subject, particularly habitats, which are so important in understanding species adaptations. I am not sure why rocks have been included, although they are of course interesting. Also some of the animal images fall slightly short of DK's normal high standards, but I expect that is because they are very hard to come by - this is being really picky though, and in no way spoils my enjoyment of this book.

I am a big fan of DK travel books, but I must admit was rather ignorant of the breath of their range and so will be taking another look now to see what other gems are waiting to be discovered...
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on 10 August 2012
What can I say? I don't know how DK manage to produce such incredible encyclopedias at such low prices, but they have done it again!

As a zoology student, I was expecting it to be basic, but with the beautiful photography DK are known for. Well the photography is incredible, no doubt about it, but I expected that much. But, to my surprise, it's not that basic at all! It's not something to write my thesis with,(this isn't a scholarly book), but it's more than detailed enough to convey the majesty of the natural world, as well as do an excellent job of informing the reader. It's easily detailed enough for the laymen; I feel only hardcore naturalists or scholars of biology will find this book to be "too basic". It's a heavy book now, and making a book that addresses all the included species in full details, plus all the beautiful photography, would produce a book you'd need a forklift to get around.

If your looking for a field guide to animal identification, this isn't the book (you'd need a particularly strong pair of arms to take this book into the field), but if you just want a book to browse, and learn more about the staggering variety of life, stop looking.
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