Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature

‘Discover why the natural world is worthy of your unending curiosity’ says the Editor’s Note in this gorgeous book, which will certainly satisfy the curiosity of all the family. The large format is packed with information on animals, plants and natural habitats and is beautifully illustrated. The book is organised into 67 Charts, most of which are double-page spreads, which gather the information on a particular topic e.g. ‘Life in Tropical Rainforests’ or ‘Bewildering Beetles’ and present a variety of facts in an easy-to-use form.

The illustrations use a muted but varied and stylish colour-palette and are detailed enough to be useful as well as beautiful. An interesting aspect of the book design is that it seeks to mimic the links found in online information research, where one piece of information can lead to another, related piece on a separate page. This is done using numbered and coloured ‘tabs’, similar to the system used for books of maps. While it is not as fluid as searching a website, it does introduce another way of interacting with the information in the book – which will appeal to many readers. One less than successful feature of the book’s design is the use of very small text size, made more difficult to read on some pages by the use of dark background colour. A little adjustment would improve the ease of reading.

I love the emphasis on the interconnectedness of the natural environment and our role in learning to live and survive in harmony with nature. This book is suitable for all ages, particularly ages 8 – 10.