Just check out our book reviews. It’s clear we’ve always been big fans of DK Books. They publish the best reference books for kids around, and when it comes to their Smithsonian books, their nature photography is second to none. DK books bring the awe-inspiring wonders of nature into your home and on to your coffee table. Here are three of DK’s finest nature books that I think would be fabulous choices for gift giving this Christmas!
As soon as I picked up An Anthology of Intriguing Animals, I was most definitely – ahem – intrigued. Reminiscent of medieval bestiaries with gilded pages and a ribbon bookmark, this children’s animal encyclopedia is truly a beautiful book. But you can’t judge a book by its cover, right? So what’s inside?
This volume features 104 animals from the massive baleen whale down to the tiny ant. Subjects include the usual fare like sheep, raccoons, polar bears, and penguins, and also some more unusual animals like cute quokkas, fluffy viscachas, axolotls, scaly pangolins, seadragons, and worm-like caecilians.
Each two-page spread features a single animal with both an illustration and a large full-colour photo of the animal in question, a brief write-up, and an intriguing fact. This book makes learning fun!
“An emperor penguin can dive more than 1,640 ft (500 m) deep and hold its breath for twenty minutes.”
“Most geckos don’t have eyelids. They lick their huge eyes to keep them clean and wet.”
“Glasswing butterflies have see-through wings. If one landed here, you could read this text right through it!”
At the back of the book, a fanciful tree of life shows how animal groups are connected to each other, and the illustrated index contains reference information about each species including its scientific name, size, and location. This beautiful book would make a lovely gift for any child who can’t get enough of wildlife and nature.
Our small planet is blessed with stunning landscapes and unique geological features, and this Smithsonian volume, Natural Wonders of the World, provides a detailed survey of some of the fascinating geology, biomes, and natural wonders found on each continent.
Explore the wonders of the world through eye-popping photographs and accessible text. Learn about the wonders of our planet from the snow-capped Andes mountains to the depths of the Mariana Trench, from the arid Atacama Desert that can go years without a drop of rainfall to Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world. Get a glimpse of the tectonic movement and magma underlying the Hawaiian Islands or the geothermal hotbed of Rotorua in New Zealand.
The chapters are organized by continent along with two final chapters focused on the oceans and extreme weather. At the back of the book, there’s a directory of the most significant geological features – mountains and volcanoes, glaciers and ice sheets, rivers and lakes, forests, deserts, and coasts, islands, and reefs – also organized by continent. Even more back matter includes an extensive illustrated glossary of terms and an index of all the locations mentioned in this magnificent coffee table book.
I’m pretty sure this ambitious hardcover volume from DK Smithsonian is the heaviest book in my house with 648 pages and over 5000 full-colour photographs and close-ups. Leafing through page after page of this spectacular survey of life on Earth is truly a visual delight!
Natural History starts with a general introduction to life on Earth covering the geological foundations of life, the evolution of life forms, and an overview of how organisms are classified. The next five chapters form a visual survey of thousands of species and specimens of minerals, rocks, and fossils, microscopic life, plants, fungi, and animals.
The most extensive chapter by far is the section on animals, taking up almost two thirds of this volume with sections examining invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Each section starts with an outline of the class’ general characteristics, then drills down to explore more of the incredible variation in each phylum and class. You won’t find a lot of information about each individual species though; this is purely a surface-level survey of the immense variety of life on this planet.
This is one of my favourite books from DK. The scope of this volume and the spectacular photography are simply awe-inspiring. Anyone who loves nature and wildlife will be thrilled to find this under the tree!
Win Gift-Worthy Books from DK Books
One of my readers will win two of these gorgeous books from DK Books – one for you and one for the kids! Enter in the giveaway widget below to win An Anthology of Intriguing Animals and Natural History: The Ultimate Guide to Everything on Earth. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified. Prize delivery is not guaranteed by Christmas, so please plan accordingly.
Click here to check out my other open giveaways and be sure to follow me on Facebook!
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