Animalium (above and below) was published only this month and is so gorgeous, you will not disagree. It is a large book with lovely thick pages (it also smells really good in a bookish way!). It is based on a virtual museum as it takes the reader through exhibits from the tree of animal life - each chapter representing a branch of the tree.
This museum is unlike any other you've visited before. Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, its collection boasts an unrivalled catalogue of the world's finest and most extraordinary creatures, with each exhibit in immaculate condition and presented in fantastic detail.
Each 'exhibit' contains brief scientific information which I am sure children would absorb like a sponge. However we can't get past the amazing illustrations and matching the animals with their names. I have an will continue to buy this as an impressive gift for those who appreciate beautiful books.
I picked up Leaf Litter - Exploring the Mysteries of a Hidden World (above) to look at in the National Library Bookshop and there was no way I was going to put it back. Again it's the detailed and fascinating illustrations that drew me in.
Leaves, twigs, branches and bark collect on the ground in forests all over the world. We call this leaf litter, but it isn't rubbish at all. If you look closely you will discover a world of animals and plants living side by side, a busy secret world we hardly ever see.
The lift the flaps and the peek into the underground world provides such a unique perspective. This is also a really tall book which allows for the page to be dominated by the illustrations.
This is in the same collection as the well known If the World Were a Village - A Book about the World's People. Tree of Life - The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth (above) takes the reader through the five branches (five kingdoms) of the tree of life. The main attraction for me is the way this book is laid out - it would be a wonderful introduction to the child to the classification of living things from kingdoms to species. For a child from five onwards on I don't feel this rather large subject would be overwhelming but organised and 'categorised' from the start. Helping the child to make sense of our world.
I am still on the look out for beautiful and preferably photographic nature books that cover the topics of weather and natural phenomenons - please let me know if you have any suggestions.