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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    A fascinating book about our planet!

    When I opened this book, the visual beauty nearly took my breath away! This is an informative guide loaded with facts about every aspect of our planet. Topics include weather, climate zones, volcanos, mountains, and grasslands to name a few. This is an essential volume for anyone's collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2003

    Another Great Book from Dk !!

    It appears that DK and the Smithsonian have combined to produce a sure winner in their new book ¿Smithsonian Earth¿. It is profusely illustrated with superb full color photographs and illustrations throughout. This book is divided into five major sections: (1) Planet Earth (2) Land (3) Ocean (4) Atmosphere and (5) Tectonic Earth. It is extremely well organized with a comprehensive index and glossary. One will find ¿thematic panels¿ scattered throughout the text, which might in other works be referred to as ¿sidebars¿. They serve three functions: They are used to highlight science (how scientists have learned about different aspects of the workings of our planet), biography (notable earth scientists, explorers and others are profiled) and environment (the ways humans are changing the Earth). These panels are color-coded. For instance, all biography entries have a light gray background. Having indexed some books myself in the past, this comprehensive feature was appreciated. It was impressive that even the ¿thematic panels¿ are indexed as well as the regular text. The index in boldface type refers to the most prominent page. For instance, copper¿s indexed entry referred to the ¿thematic panel¿ that noted that copper is extremely malleable that can be formed into intricate patterns and are invaluable for covering domes, spires and cupolas. Furthermore, it notes that the copper roofs lasts for centuries ¿ all this in a small thematic panel! The first part of the book deals with the Earth¿s past with a colored timeline extending over several pages dating from the Big Bang. The color reflects the temperature and the environment. One outstanding feature of this book is the use of what they call ¿double pages¿ (facing pages) that are used for subjects of a global nature, for instance, such as ¿The Solar System¿, ¿The Earth and the Sun¿ and ¿The Earth and the Moon¿. This is the same format that DK used in their superb Concise Atlas of the World. This format eliminates the annoying necessity of distractive page flipping. The Planet Earth section is broken down into the Earth¿s Past, the Earth in Space, the Anatomy of the Earth and The Changing Earth. Each of these subjects is further subdivided. The Land section focuses on Mountains and Volcanoes, Rivers and Lakes, Glaciers, Deserts, Forests, Wetlands, Grasslands and Tundra, Agricultural Areas, Urban Areas and Industrial Areas. The Ocean section covers Oceans and Seas and Coasts. These also are further subdivided. Coasts, for instance, are broken down into Tides and Waves, Coasts and Sea Level and Erosions and Depositional Coastlines. In reviewing this book, I first ran a readability test to determine the reading level (the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level) and it showed that it was written on the 12th grade level. In other words, this book is appropriate for senior in high school and above and ¿advanced¿ young readers. It¿s good to see an educational book that has been ¿dummied down¿ to the lowest denominator! For instance, this book might be used in an AP Geography course in high school. In short, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in our Mother Earth and its many themes, vistas and environmental problems. As a former social studies teacher, I can see that it should meet many needs, especially in our schools as both a reference work and/or a textbook. To be quite honest, it¿s a sheer joy to read and to just ¿look¿! Enjoy!

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