Priceless: The Vanishing Beauty of A Fragile Planet


Mitsuaki Iwago's gorgeous photographs of adorable endangered animals accompanied by Bradley Trevor Greive's impassioned plea for environmental consciousness and sprinkled with facts and figures on humans' steady corruption of the earth in Priceless.

There may be no more effective argument against environmental devastation than gorgeous photographs of adorable endangered animals--and this book is packed with them, accompanied by heartfelt ...

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Mitsuaki Iwago's gorgeous photographs of adorable endangered animals accompanied by Bradley Trevor Greive's impassioned plea for environmental consciousness and sprinkled with facts and figures on humans' steady corruption of the earth in Priceless.

There may be no more effective argument against environmental devastation than gorgeous photographs of adorable endangered animals--and this book is packed with them, accompanied by heartfelt entreaties about the looming extinction of dozens of species.

Australian author Bradley Trevor Greive writes an impassioned plea for environmental consciousness that glides between poetic ("you are the whole world, not just the space inside your clothes") and matter-of-fact ("It seems clear that our species is destined to be the cause of the sixth extinction"). The accompanying pictures by wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago are captivating snapshots of disappearing animal worlds: a lion cub resting at sunset on the savanna, an elephant advancing across a plain while hundreds of white birds fly up before him.

Greive and Iwago explore the interconnectedness and similarity of all life, but carefully avoid assigning human characteristics to the animals. And humans will reap what they sow, Grieve warns: "Only now are we learning that just as we made life unbearable of the many delicate species we have lost, so too we are slowly but surely making this planet unsuitable to sustain even our own existence." Grieve's simple, spare prose, which rarely measures more than a sentence or two per page, is sprinkled with facts and figures on humans' steady corruption of the earth.

No reader will close the book unmoved by the beautiful, funny, and strange creatures in its pages. Amplifying this poignant call for action, Greive is donating all author proceeds from book sales to the Taronga Foundation, a wildlife conservation charity.

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Editorial Reviews

Priceless is a gem of a nature book about animals around the world threatened by extinction. Stunning photographs accompanied by equally compelling text-often only an incisive line or two-grace each beautifully designed page. This is a serious book, but there is plenty of visual humor-from the photo of the baby polar bear suspended mid-dive, to the kangaroo scratching its belly, to the saucer-eyed loris accompanied by the entreaty at the end, "and now it's up to you." The author manages to convey how unique all animals are in appearance and behavior-and how little we understand them. About halfway through the book, the tone shifts as we are reminded how destructive our ignorance of the natural world into which we continue to sprawl really is-and how important it is for us to find a balance within it. The power in the author's punches come from the straightforward barrage of simple facts he discharges. The book ends on an uplifting note, with a reminder that progress has been made in coming up with solutions to depletion of our resources. And through conservation acts and special breeding programs, we have brought several species back from the brink of extinction. Readers are given several specific tips on what they can do-further reinforcement of the message throughout the book that small changes really can make a big difference. Those who take pleasure in wildlife photography (and certainly budding nature photographers, themselves) will especially enjoy the book. English teachers will be delighted to find models of lyrical prose in an expository text, ideal for lessons on figurative language ("watch a woma python/ pour through the Central Australian Desert/like liquidbronze/leaving in its wake/an Arabic prayer for understanding/written in the sand.") And there is lovely humor in the descriptive passages that accompany photographs such as the one of the "tufted puffin with its shock of blonde hair and rococo beak." Priceless truly conveys a sense of humans' oneness with these creatures and our responsibility to them-"We live among exotic neighbors who/from the day they are born/will breathe the same air and look up at the same moon as you and, when they die, will lie buried in the same soil." Finally, for anyone researching endangered animals, the author provides a wealth of information about each animal featured in the book in a section at the end. The last few pages will bring both a smile and a tear to the most hardened eye. "There will be beauty" (photograph of a brilliant tropical bird), "there will be joy" (frolicking monkey), "there will be life on earth" (two-page spread of elephant surrounded by white birds)and (close-up on the appealing face of a somber-sweet panda)-"you will never have to live in a world without pandas." Having strategically placed the book inside the door of my classroom, this reviewer was able to determine that most people from age 10 on up have a predictable response: entranced by the baby Bornean orangutan featured on the cover, they stop to flip through the book-and then, mesmerized, end up reading it from cover to cover. KLIATT Codes: JSA*-Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Andrews and McMeel, 147p. illus., Ages 12 to adult.
— Gloria Levine Bryant
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780740726958
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/2/2002
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,334,342
  • Product dimensions: 10.08 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Since the debut of his international bestseller The Blue Day Book, Bradley Trevor Greive has become a household name in more than 115 countries. A former Australian paratrooper, BTG left the army to pursue more creative misadventures. He has been bitten by wild monkeys and rabid bats and was accepted into Russia’s cosmonaut training program–though those incidents were, by and large, unrelated. BTG spends most of his time in a tiny Tasmanian hamlet.

Author Bradley Trevor Greive has four international best-sellers to his credit: Looking for Mr. Right, Dear Mom, The Meaning Of Life, and The Blue Day Book. In addition to writing engaging and entertaining books, BTG is an artist, cartoonist, poet, furniture and toy designer, screenwriter, and ex-paratroop platoon leader. Although a Tasmanian by birth, he presently lives in Sydney, Australia, with his rabbit, Biff.
Mitsuaki Iwago is among the world's foremost wildlife photographers. For over 20 years he has taken award-winning images in more than 70 countries, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines, including National Geographic. He is the author of over a dozen books, including the worldwide best-sellers Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain, Mitsuaki Iwago's Whales, Mitsuaki Iwago's Kangaroos, Mitsuaki Iwago's Penguins, and In the Lion's Den. He presently lives in Japan but is more likely to be found

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