Natural History—the Smithsonian on Your Bookshelf

By Jonathan Liu 

Natural History 

Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth is kind of like having the Smithsonian Natural History Museum on your bookshelf. There are over 5,000 gorgeous photographs of plants, animals, fungi, rocks and minerals, accompanied by brief descriptions of everything. There are many two-page spreads focusing on a particular item—for instance, the Fly Agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), with a red cap and white spots, gets its own spread which gives a lot more details about its growth stages and mentions that it’s the most famous fungus.

Cuban Crocodile

Detail pages for the Cuban Crocodile.

Each page of life forms also has a handy chart showing phylum, class, orders, families, and species; there are common names and Latin names, average size, and so on. Page after page of spectacular specimens, usually grouped in their orders (with subdivisions for families).


Several types of butterflies.

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