Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Last year my pick of the holiday season was a gorgeous and informative book about the periodic table, called Elements (I'll have more to say about this book a little later in the season). We ran out of this book before Christmas, as did the publisher, so clearly a lot of people found this book to be an appealing gift.
This year my favorite gift book of the year follows in a similar vein, being both gorgeous and informative. My Number One pick this year is Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth, published by Dorling Kindersley -- a publisher known for beautifully illustrated books -- in conjunction with The Smithsonian Institution.
This lavishly illustrated, 650-page book explains the story of our planet, from the unique conditions that first sustained life to the evolution and classification of organisms that exist today. The heart of the book is a breathtaking visual catalog with more than 5000 full-color entries, showing minerals, rocks and fossils, microscopic life, plants, fungi, and animals -- including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of all sorts.
Like my pick from last year, this book is art and it is science, a coffee table book that can be browsed endlessly both for education and for the pure pleasure of appreciating the gorgeous specially commissioned photographs. This fabulous book is only $50 -- and it's in our Holiday Book Guide! We are bound to run out of these by Christmas, so don't wait too long.
Here is a brief video clip that gives you a peek inside the book. See for yourself just how fabulous it is.