Sunday, January 27, 2008

DK Does it Again

When you deal with a lot of books, you start to get a feeling for publishers: who does what, whether they do it well, and who to keep on your radar screen. One of my favorite publishers is Dorling Kindersley (DK) because they can take any book, regardless of the subject, and make it a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Their graphics, images and layouts are really well done and always make a book more appealing. We have two new examples of their work - Bird: the definitive visual guide and Reef. The Roger Tory Peterson guides are great (absolutely packed with information), but they always look so darn dull. At a foot tall and weighing in at over 5 pounds, Bird is not a field guide. It is a coffee table book, to be lovingly browsed through and each colorful image admired. You get a little natural history and description, a note on migration patterns, a distribution map and a habitat description. You also get fabulous color photos of over 1,000 species. Even the LBBs (little brown birds) look good in this book.

Reef is no less beautiful, although it is lighter on the hard-core information than the bird book. Billed as a "photographic portrait" (as opposed to a painted portrait, I suppose), Reef has over 350 pages of beautiful underwater images in full color. Corals, fish, seaweed, sponges, sharks, mollusks and mammals are all presented here. It makes you truly appreciate the diversity of the reef environment. The book finishes up with a short, sweet description of the various reefs around the world: coral reefs, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, kelp forests and temperate reefs. Learn about their distribution, their importance in the overall ecology of the planet, and some key inhabitants. Another beautiful browse.

1 comment:

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