Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1) Barrow, John D.. The Book of Universes: Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos. 2012. W.W. Norton. Paperback: 354 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Einstein’s theory of general relativity opens the door for the study of other possible universes—and weird universes at that. The Book of Universes gives us a stunning tour of these potential universes, introducing us to the brilliant physicists and mathematicians who first revealed these startling possibilities. John D. Barrow then explains the latest insights that physics and astronomy have to offer about our own universe, showing how they lead to the concept of the “multiverse”—the universe of all possible universes.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in astrophysics.
2) Marcus, W. Andrew et al.. Atlas of Yellowstone. 2012. University of California Press. Hardbound: 274 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park. In a fitting tribute to this diverse and beautiful region, the Atlas of Yellowstone is a compelling visual guide to this unique national park and its surrounding area. Ranging from art to wolves, from American Indians to the Yellowstone Volcano, and from geysers to population, each page explains something new about the dynamic forces shaping Yellowstone. Equal parts reference and travel guide, the Atlas of Yellowstone is an unsurpassed resource. This books features:
• Features more than 500 maps including detailed topographic maps of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
• Contributors include more than 100 experts
• Gives place name references for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the surrounding region
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for fans of Yellowstone National Park!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
1) Sinclair, Ian and Olivier Langrand. Chamberlain's Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion and the Comoros. 2002. Struik Nature. Paperback: 184 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Following in the format of Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, this guide presents all the birds of Madagascar and the other Indian Ocean islands (Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius and Mascarenes), a great many species of which are endemic to these islands.
In field guide form, this text presents concise descriptions of each species, highlighting diagnostic features for ease of identification. Differences between sexes and plumages are discussed as well as the status of the bird, its habitat and call.
Distribution maps accompany each entry. The birds are illustrated in full color and where necessary are depicted in all plumages relevant to identification (male, female and immature). In-flight illustrations present the bird from above and below, providing comprehensive coverage of the birds in the field.
RECOMMENDATION: The text and range maps are opposite the color plates. A useful guide to the region.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
1) Steyer, Sebastien. Earth before the Dinosaurs. 2012. Indiana University Press. Paperback: 182 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This beautiful volume introduces the incredible animals that populated the planet before the Age of the Dinosaurs. Readers voyage to a time, beginning about 370 million years ago, when the first four-footed vertebrates appeared, and ending 200 million years later at the moment when the dinosaurs begin their ascent. During this time, vertebrates emerge from the sea and there appears a parade of animals, each more astonishing than the last. On this expedition, we learn how paleontologists become detectives to understand the history of life and we discover that many widely held ideas about the evolution of species are completely false. Earth before the Dinosaurs is an entertaining and informative guide to an astonishing and little-known world.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the vertebrates (mostly tetrapods) of the Paleozoic Era.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
1) Pittman, Craig. The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid. 2012. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 301 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: After its Peruvian discovery in 2002, Phragmipedium kovachii became the rarest and most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market. Then one showed up at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where every year more than 100,000 people visit. They come for the lush landscape on Sarasota Bay and for Selby's vast orchid collection, one of the most magnificent in the world.
The collision between Selby's scientists and the smugglers of P. kovachii, a rare ladyslipper orchid hailed as the most significant and beautiful new species discovered in a century, led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, and criminal charges. It made headlines around the country, cost the gardens hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, and led to tremendous internal turmoil.
Investigative journalist Craig Pittman unravels this tangled web to shine a spotlight on flaws in the international treaties governing trade in endangered wildlife--which may protect individual plants and animals in shipping but do little to halt the destruction of whole colonies in the wild.
The Scent of Scandal unspools like a riveting mystery novel, stranger than anything in Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief or the film Adaptation. Pittman shows how some people can become so obsessed--with beauty, with profit, with fame--that they will ignore everything, even the law.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of The Orchid Thief will enjoy this book!
1) Sodikoff, Genese Marie (editor). The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death. 2012. Indiana University Press. Paperback: 243 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: We live in an era marked by an accelerating rate of species death, but since the early days of the discipline, anthropology has contemplated the death of languages, cultural groups, and ways of life. The essays in this collection examine processes of—and our understanding of—extinction across various domains. The contributors argue that extinction events can be catalysts for new cultural, social, environmental, and technological developments—that extinction processes can, paradoxically, be productive as well as destructive. The essays consider a number of widely publicized cases: island species in the Galápagos and Madagascar; the death of Native American languages; ethnic minorities under pressure to assimilate in China; cloning as a form of species regeneration; and the tiny hominid Homo floresiensis fossils ("hobbits") recently identified in Indonesia. The Anthropology of Extinction offers compelling explorations of issues of widespread concern.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in cultural and species extinction.
Monday, May 21, 2012
1) Howse, Philip and Kirby Wolfe. Giant Silkmoths: Colour, Mimicry & Camouflage. 2011. Papadakis. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: GBP 25.00 ($40.00 U.S.).
SUMMARY: The most spectacular wild silkmoths live in tropical and subtropical forests and include the elegant moon moths with delicate pale green wings and long tails, the huge atlas moths with snake patterns embroidered on the edges of their wings, and the "bulls-eye" moths with brightly-coloured eye-spots that resemble the eyes of owls.
The interplay of wing colour and design, behaviour, and ecology in the evolution of these extraordinary insects is explored in a lively, accessible text by award-winning author Philip Howse accompanied by the magnificent photographs of Kirby Wolfe. Many previously unrecognised examples of mimicry of other animals embedded in their wing patterns are described and illustrated, including images of owl eyes, bird wings, claws, teeth, heads of reptiles, birds, rodents, cats ... all designed to frighten the short-sighted, insect-eating birds that seek to prey on them.
The grandeur and the fascinating natural history of the giant silkmoths and the manner in which they protect themselves are described and illustrated in this lavishly-produced book in such a way that as to enthrall scientists, students, artists and all those interested in wildlife and photography.
RECOMMENDATION: The photography highlights this book! Moth-ers will enjoy this title!
2) Stirling-Aird, Patrick. Peregrine Falcon. 2012. Firefly Books. Hardcover: 128 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Peregrine falcons are famous for their speed--in excess of 200 miles per hour--and their ability to capture prey in mid-flight. That same speed and a preference for inaccessible roosting locations means they are effectively unseen in the wild. They were not elusive enough, however, to avoid near-extinction.
But in 1977, a captive-bred peregrine falcon made history by raising a family in the wild. Since then over 4,000 peregrines have been released so that all of the peregrines now living in eastern North America are captive-bred releases and their descendants. Nevertheless threats persist, including pesticides, premature fledging, and tall buildings.
Peregrine Falcon brings the rarely seen raptor into full view. Informative text describes their biology, behavior, reproduction and hunting, and tells the compelling story of how peregrines were rescued from the brink of extinction. The most striking feature of the book, however, is the 80 extraordinary photographs of falcons in their natural habitat. Close-up and rich in color and detail, they will leave readers in awe. For that alone Peregrine Falcon is essential.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of the species.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
1) Gooddie, Chris. The Jewel Hunter. 2010. WILDGuides. Paperback: 350 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: A tale of one man's obsession with rainforest jewels, this is the story of an impossible dream: a quest to see every one of the world's most elusive avian gems--a group of birds known as pittas--in a single year.
Insightful, compelling, and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than a book about birds. It's a true story detailing the lengths to which a man will go to escape his midlife crisis. A travelogue with a difference, it follows a journey from the suburban straitjacket of High Wycombe to the steamy, leech-infested rainforests of remotest Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Dangerous situations, personal traumas, and logistical nightmares threaten The Jewel Hunter's progress. Will venomous snakes or razor-clawed bears intervene? Or will running out of fuel mid-Pacific ultimately sink the mission? The race is on. . . .
If you've ever yearned to escape your day job, wondered what makes men tick, or simply puzzled over how to make a truly world-class cup of tea, this is a book for you.
RECOMMENDATION: This title and other WILDGuides are now available through Princeton University Press. Birders will enjoy this birding/travel adventure!
Friday, May 18, 2012
1) Niles, Lawrence, Joanna Burger and Amanda Dey. Life Along the Delaware Bay: Cape May, Gateway to a Million Shorebirds. 2012. Rutgers University Press. Hardbound: 154 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Delaware Bay is the second largest and most diverse bay on the East Coast. It has a rich cultural history, has played an important role in the region's commerce and tourism, and has spectacular and vital natural resources. Birdwatchers gather along its shores to watch the spectacle of thousands of spawning horseshoe crabs, the dense flocks of migrant shorebirds, the fall hawk migration, and the huge migration of monarch butterflies.
Life Along the Delaware Bay focuses on the area as an ecosystem, the horseshoe crab as a keystone species within that system, and the crucial role that the bay plays in the migratory ecology of shorebirds. An overabundance of horseshoe crabs spawning on the Delaware Bay beaches results in an abundance of eggs brought to the surface, providing a source of high-quality food and bringing hundreds of thousands of shorebirds to the bay to forage in late May and early June. A slight decline in horseshoe crabs has resulted in a rapid and dramatic decline in birds, particularly the red knot. This decline has sounded an alarm throughout the world, prompting a host of biologists to converge on the bay each spring, to understand the biology and conservation of red knots and other shorebirds.
The book examines current efforts to protect the bay and identifies new efforts that must take place to ensure it remains an intact ecological system. Over three hundred stunning color photographs and maps capture the beauty and majesty of this unique treasure—one that must be protected today and for generations to come.
RECOMMENDATION: The photography by Jan van de Kam highlights this book! Shorebird fans and birders with an interest in the region will want this book!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
1) Phillipps, Quentin and Karen Phillipps. Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan (Second Edition, Fully Revised). 2011. John Beaufoy. Paperback: 372 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Published to great critical acclaim in 2009, this is a fully revised and updated edition of the most user-friendly field guide to the birds of Borneo, covering Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and the Indonesian states of Kalimantan. The book gives descriptions of 669 species living or reported on the island, including all 52 endemic species.These are superbly illustrated in 141 colour plates with more than 2,000 full colour bird images, including most of the sexual variants and immature forms of polymorphic species.
Each plate is accompanied by species descriptions covering taxonomy, size, call, range, distribution, habits and status. Distribution is shown by detailed thumbnail maps. There are 7 habitat plates, 12 regional maps showing Borneo’s top 130 birdwatching sites, fast-find graphic indexes to the birds of Kinabalu, and a full overview of vegetation, climate and ecology.
RECOMMENDATION: I prefer this book over the Birds of Borneo by Susan Myers.
1) Marzluff, John and Tony Angell. Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans. 2012. Free Press. Hardbound: 289 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: CROWS ARE MISCHIEVOUS, playful, social, and passionate. They have brains that are huge for their body size and exhibit an avian kind of eloquence. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. And because they often live near people—in our gardens, parks, and cities—they are also keenly aware of our peculiarities, staying away from and even scolding anyone who threatens or harms them and quickly learning to recognize and approach those who care for and feed them, even giving them numerous, oddly touching gifts in return.
With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff teams up with artist-naturalist Tony Angell to tell amazing stories of these brilliant birds in Gifts of the Crow. With narrative, diagrams, and gorgeous line drawings, they offer an in-depth look at these complex creatures and our shared behaviors. The ongoing connection between humans and crows—a cultural coevolution—has shaped both species for millions of years. And the characteristics of crows that allow this symbiotic relationship are language, delinquency, frolic, passion, wrath, risk-taking, and awareness—seven traits that humans find strangely familiar. Crows gather around their dead, warn of impending doom, recognize people, commit murder of other crows, lure fish and birds to their death, swill coffee, drink beer, turn on lights to stay warm, design and use tools, use cars as nutcrackers, windsurf and sled to play, and work in tandem to spray soft cheese out of a can. Their marvelous brains allow them to think, plan, and reconsider their actions.
With its abundance of funny, awe-inspiring, and poignant stories, Gifts of the Crow portrays creatures who are nothing short of amazing. A testament to years of painstaking research and careful observation, this fully illustrated, riveting work is a thrilling look at one of nature’s most wondrous creatures.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the authors other works on corvids, you will enjoy this book!
2) Williams, Florence. Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History. 2012. Norton. Hardbound: 338 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: An engaging narrative about an incredible, life-giving organ and its imperiled modern fate.
Did you know that breast milk contains substances similar to cannabis? Or that it’s sold on the Internet for 262 times the price of oil? Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial—and so vulnerable?
In this informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon’s office where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas to the laboratory where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.
RECOMMENDATION: Every woman (and men too!) should read this book!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
1) Glynn, Jenifer. My Sister Rosalind Franklin. 2012. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 172 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Rosalind Franklin is famous in the history of science for her contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA, the start of the greatest biological revolution of the twentieth century. Much has been written about the importance of her part, and about how her work was affected by her position as a woman scientist. Above all she was a distinguished scientist, not only in her work on DNA, but also in her earlier work on coals and carbons and in her later work on viruses.
In this family memoir her sister, the writer and historian Jenifer Glynn, paints a full picture of Rosalind's life. Looking at Rosalind's background; her early education, her time as a science student at Cambridge, and her relations with her family, to her life as an adult and her time in Paris and at King's, Glynn shows how much her sister achieved and how she was influenced by the social and intellectual climate of the period she worked in.
This book features:
*Compelling family memoir written by Franklin's own sister
*A personal view of Rosalind Franklin's life - of her personality, her family and background, and the authors own recollections
*Explores not only Franklin's work on DNA, but also draws out her work on coals, carbon, and viruses
*Includes quotes from many of Franklin's letters to her famly and is illustrated with a number of family photographs, and friends including Quentin Blake.
RECOMMENDATION: For those wanting the "backstory" on Rosalind Franklin's life, this book is for you!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
1) Sykes, Bryan. DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America. 2012. Liveright. Hardbound: 369 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Crisscrossing the continent, a renowned geneticist provides a groundbreaking examination of America through its DNA.
The best-selling author of The Seven Daughters of Eve now turns his sights on the United States, one of the most genetically variegated countries in the world. From the blue-blooded pockets of old-WASP New England to the vast tribal lands of the Navajo, Bryan Sykes takes us on a historical genetic tour, interviewing genealogists, geneticists, anthropologists, and everyday Americans with compelling ancestral stories. His findings suggest:
• Of Americans whose ancestors came as slaves, virtually all have some European DNA.
• Racial intermixing appears least common among descendants of early New England colonists.
• There is clear evidence of Jewish genes among descendants of southwestern Spanish Catholics.
• Among white Americans, evidence of African DNA is most common in the South.
• European genes appeared among Native Americans as early as ten thousand years ago.
An unprecedented look into America's genetic mosaic and how we perceive race, DNA USA challenges the very notion of what we think it means to be American.
RECOMMENDATION: If you think you know what it means to be an American, think again!
Monday, May 14, 2012
1) Burt, Marissa. Storybound. 2012. Harper. Hardbound: 406 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story—a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy-tale characters.
But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In—and fast—before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story's shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined—and it might be up to her to save it.
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 8-12. Think of this book as a hybrid between Harry Potter and InkHeart.
2) Paul, Ellen (editor). Emerging Avian Disease (Studies in Avian Biology, 42). 2012. University of California Press. Hardbound: 108 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: In this volume, new human disease pandemics, arising from animals stimulated by ongoing environmental change, demonstrate the value of ornithological research into avian diseases. A group of 29 researchers addresses a diverse set of topics, including the evolutionary and ecological aspects of the host-vector systems, the effects of genetic variation, introduction success and vector ecology, evolution of resistance and virulence of pathogens, and the effects of changing geographic distributions. In addition to empirical studies under field conditions, the authors present predictive models to assess the movement and potential impact of these diseases. Other chapters delve into the potential impacts of pathogens and the key role of biosurveillance and documenting impacts of disease on bird populations.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in avian disease.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
1) Ammerman, Loren K. et al.. Bats of Texas. 2012. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 305 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: With all new illustrations, color photographs, revised species accounts, updated maps, and a sturdy flexible binding, this new edition of the authoritative guide to bats in Texas will serve as the field guide and all-around reference of choice for amateur naturalists as well as mammalogists, wildlife biologists, and professional conservationists.
Texas is home to all four families of bats that occur in the United States, including thirty-three species of these important yet increasingly threatened mammals. Although five species, each represented by a single specimen, may be regarded as vagrants, no other state has a bat fauna more diverse, from the state’s most common species, the Brazilian free-tailed bat, to the rare hairy-legged vampire.
The introductory chapter of this new edition of Bats of Texas surveys bats in general—their appearance, distribution, classification, evolution, biology, and life history—and discusses public health and bat conservation. An updated account for each species follows, with pictures by an outstanding nature photographer, distribution maps, and a thorough bibliography. Bats of Texas also features revised and illustrated dichotomous keys accompanied by gracefully detailed line drawings to aid in identification. A list of specimens examined is located at batsoftexas.com.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the bats of Texas!
1) Defoe, Gideon. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Adventure with Scientists & An Adventure with Ahab. 2012. Vintage. Paperback: 216 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Adventure? Yes, more than one! Derring-do? Yes! Storms? Sea monsters? Rival pirates? Of course! Cameos by frequently anachronistic historical figures? You betcha! All that and more.
Not since Moby-Dick. . . . No, not since Treasure Island. . . . Actually, not since Jonah and the Whale has there been a group of seafarers to rival The Pirates!, and their leader, the greatest ocean-faring hero of all time, the immortal Pirate Captain, who, although he lives for months at a time on the bounding main somehow manages to keep his beard silky and in good condition.
RECOMMENDATION: I enjoyed the book more than the movie. Read the book and see the movie at a matinee.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
1) Jeyarajasingam, Allen and Alan Pearson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (Second Edition). 2012. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 449 pages. Price: $62.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This new edition is the most comprehensive field guide to the birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, covering all 673 species known to occur in the region. The birds are illustrated in a series of 74 stunning full-colour plates, painted for this book by Alan Pearson, an artist with considerable first-hand experience of the region. The plates illustrate the various plumage variations for each bird, and show the birds perched and also in flight, where relevant to their identification. The text, written and revised by Allen Jeyarajasingam, is accessible to experienced ornithologists and beginners alike, and highlights the important identification features such as plumage variations, size, calls and songs, range, distribution, and status for every species. Introductory sections describe the region and highlight some of the best sites for watching the abundant avifauna.
The beautiful, precise plates and clearly-written text make this book a must-have for all birdwatchers travelling to the region. This book features:
*A new edition of a truly comprehensive, up-to-date, modern guide to the region's abundant avifauna
*Contains 74 stunning colour plates by Alan Pearson
*All species on the official list for the region are described in the text
*Introductory chapters and appendices provide additional information on the region
*Includes the latest information on the habits and distribution of the region's bird species
*New and revised colour plates reflect recent changes to the classification of some species, and the growing number of species on the official list
*Includes a new checklist to enable quick reference and record sightings
RECOMMENDATION: Two color plates and 25 species have been added to this edition. The plates and text are separate. Although this book lacks range maps, I still recommend it for birders interested in the region!
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
1) Kiser, Joy M.. America's Other Audubon. 2012. Princeton Architectural Press. Hardbound: 192 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Nearly everyone is familiar with John James Audubon and his seminal color-plate book, The Birds of America. But few people are aware of another monumental volume of artwork, Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio. Inspired by viewing Audubon's lithographs at theÊ1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, twenty-nine-year-old amateur naturalist and artist Genevieve Jones (1847-1879) began working on a companion volume to The Birds of America, illustrating the nests and eggs that Audubon omitted. Her brother collected the nests and eggs, her father paid for the publishing, and Genevieve learned lithography and began illustrating the specimens. When Genevieve died suddenly of typhoid fever, her family labored for seven years to finish the project in her memory. The original book, sold by subscription in twenty-three parts, included Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt among its subscribers.
Only ninety copies of the original book were published in 1886, and fewer than twenty-five copies now remain in institutions and private hands. Featuring reproductions of all sixty-eight original color lithographs, archival photographs, selected field notes, and a key to the eggs and birds, America's Other Audubon chronicles for the first time the story behind the making of this extraordinary nineteenth century book. America's Other Audubon includes a foreword by Leslie K. Overstreet, curator of Natural-History Rare Books at the Smithsonian Institution.
RECOMMENDATION: The original sells for $45,000 to 48,000 U.S.. A must have for those with an interest in bird art and/or American ornithological history.
Buteo Books here.
1) DiTerlizzi, Tony. A Hero For Wondla. 2012. Simon and Schuster. Hardbound: 464 pages. Price: $17.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: The highly anticipated new illustrated novel in the New York Times bestselling The Search for WondLa series.
Before the end of The Search for WondLa, Eva Nine had never seen another human, but after a human boy named Hailey rescues her along with her companions, she couldn’t be happier. Eva thinks she has everything she’s ever dreamed of, especially when Hailey brings her and her friends to the colony of New Attica, where humans of all shapes and sizes live in apparent peace and harmony.
But all is not idyllic in New Attica, and Eva Nine soon realizes that something sinister is going on—and if she doesn’t stop it, it could mean the end of everything and everyone on planet Orbona. Three illustrations trigger a 3-D Augmented Reality flying game that mimics action in the novel.
Featuring an abundance of lavish two-color illustrations and spot art throughout and introducing a host of remarkable characters that reinforce the importance of friendship, A Hero for WondLa has all the hallmarks of a classic book—of the future.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the first book should enjoy this book!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
1) Stilwell, Jeffrey D. and John A. Long. Frozen in Time: Prehistoric Life in Antarctica. 2011. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 238 pages. Price: $77.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: No other continent on Earth has undergone such radical environmental changes as Antarctica. In its transition from rich biodiversity to the barren, cold land of blizzards we see today, Antarctica provides a dramatic case study of how subtle changes in continental positioning can affect living communities, and how rapidly catastrophic changes can come about. Antarctica has gone from paradise to polar ice in just a few million years, a geological blink of an eye when we consider the real age of Earth.
Frozen in Time presents a comprehensive overview of the fossil record of Antarctica framed within its changing environmental settings, providing a window into a past time and environment on the continent. It reconstructs Antarctica’s evolving animal and plant communities as accurately as the fossil record permits.
The story of how fossils were first discovered in Antarctica is a triumph of human endeavour. It continues today with modern expeditions going out to remote sites every year to fill in more of the missing parts of the continent’s great jigsaw of life.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction into the paleontology of Antarctica.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
1) Picker, Mike, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving. Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. 2004. Struik Nature. Paperback: 444 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This new guide will be of great value to entomologists, both amateur and professional, as well as to students, nature conservation officers, game rangers, gardeners, farmers, tourists and anyone with an interest in natural history. An introductory chapter discusses the insect body, life history, classification and distribution patterns and relatives of southern African insects. It also touches on collecting, displaying and curating insects and explains 'How to use this book'.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful photographic guide to the insects of the region!