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A Field Guide to California and Pacific Northwest Forests (Peterson Field Guide) [Paperback]

By John C. Kricher (Author)
Our Price $ 16.15  
Retail Value $ 19.00  
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Item Number 422495  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   400
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.2" Width: 4.5" Height: 0.8"
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1998
Publisher   Houghton Mifflin
ISBN  0395928966  
EAN  9780395928967  

Availability  0 units.

Peterson Field Guides - Full Series Preview
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  Birds of Prey (Peterson Field Guides (R) for Young Naturalists)   $ 5.94   In Stock  

Item Description...
This comprehensive field guide includes all the flora and fauna you're most likely to see in the forests of California and the Pacific Northwest. With 53 color plates and 80 color photos illustrating trees, birds, mammals, wildflowers, mushrooms, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, moths, and other insects.

Buy A Field Guide to California and Pacific Northwest Forests (Peterson Field Guide) by John C. Kricher from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780395928967 & 0395928966

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More About John C. Kricher

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Kricher's works include the Peterson Field Guides to Eastern Forests, Rocky Mountain and Southwestern Forests, and California and Pacific Northwest Forests.

John C. Kricher currently resides in the state of Illinois.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Over Reaching Title, Marginal Collection of Images, Mediocre Layout & Content  May 24, 2010
If possible, I would RATE THIS ITEM 2.25 STARS

This book is not a very good representation of the title and appears to be the reflection of ambition more so than actually being ready to publish an image based field guild and text as suggested by the title. Like ingredients listed on a food product, I expect all of the items on that list to be represented in a hierarchal format. However the items listed in the subtitle of this book, except for perhaps birds, do not follow well with the over sum of the content in the text.

The authors, apparently not successful on their own at photographing the various species covered in text, have decided to populate the book primarily with hand drawn renderings of birds and animals of marginal quality (see photo). As such, many of the renderings are a bit cartoonish in nature, void of much detail, many in shades of gray lacking color information (see photo), and fail to point out or emphasize notable physical characteristics visible in the renderings to differentiate the species.

One of many disappointing images is that of a "sea bird" on pg. 187 (see photo). Oddly, the author does not share with the reader the species of the bird or the sort of marine environment in which the bird is found. This sparse image of an actual living animal from the book, is none the less marine avian, when the book is suppose to be emphasizing forest life. Again a product of the authors very limited selection of quality stock images. And yet, continue to have the desire to cover subject matter and from the sum of the images, have to conclude that perhaps the two authors are not yet ready to do so in a truly competent and complete manner.

The image plates are such, that half if not more of the individual renderings do not project a true sense of scale. Both large and small animals along with the birds are drawn to nearly the same size on the page (see photo). Also, the image plates do not tell the reader on what page to find the associated writings for each of the species (see photo). This oversight happens occasionally on other books I read like those on mineralogy but hurdle this short coming by placing the various discussions in the text for the plate images in alphabetical order. This book does not follow such method as the various birds and animals are not sorted in such a manner (see photo). This makes it more difficult and clumsy to navigate and requires frequent use of the index just to located the associated text for any given object on a image plate.

Next on the list after birds, in the subtitle of the book, is mammals and where the images in the book fall seriously short. To start, there are very few large scale images of mammals i.e. elk herd (1), mule deer doe (1), South Dakota bison herd (1), big horn sheep (1) in the book and what few there are were photographed at such a distances using a very limited selection of medium to short focal length lens, that not much if any detail information regarding the animals can be ascertained from the photographs. There are no photos of bears, mountain lions (cougar), porcupine, skunk, lynx, fox, wild boar, coyote, baggers, the various squirrels, the excepting being a marmots the authors manage to photograph multiple times, and lacking depth in stock images put a couple pictures of these critters in the book as I guess the authors hand little, if anything else to chose from.

The section on trees was fairly well represented as it appears from the book these were the objects the authors were most successful at photographing. Hence, between the accompanying text and associated images, the most complete coverage are that of tree species. The others, like brush and wildflowers, are not so well presented, either via text or images. This is very disappointing as the Western Pacific region of North American is so endowed with wildflowers. To see such incomplete coverage (4 wildflower photos) of the subject matter, with three images of such small scale that the relevant botanical features of the plants are not visible and more of a display of generality, not scholarly. So, via the very few marginal images of flower and supporting text have to conclude that this subject was also a soft spot for both of the authors.

Very disappointing and not cover more extensively is that there is not a single photograph in the text of forest fungus (see photo). Only a single grey scale drawing, which for mushroom and fungus is hardly sufficient. Also grossly under represented is the topic covering insect (see photo), reptiles (see photo), amphibians, mosses and lichens.

The coverage of trees is fair at best. Here the authors could have included more images, in particular of the leafs and their undersides and close ups of bark variations to help with species identification. With the exception of a few average quality tourist and sightseeing level photographs, the majority of the tree images in the book, again like those taken of the mammals, were with camera lens scales that for the subject matter does not do an adequate job of revealing the discriminating factors used to identify the many scores of tree species that populate the forest along the Pacific coast.

The only area of the text that I might review with a generous B- would be how the authors cover the subject of birds. Judging from the overall sum of the content in the book, the one area in which the authors seem to be most informed. Unfortunately, this sort of severe imbalance in the covering of forest life was not what I was looking for when selecting this book. Instead I was looking for a balanced, well rounded, approach that demonstrates an equal level of knowledge for all of the disciplines the authors are attempting to cover.

In conclusion, I find the title of this book to be an in accurate reflection of the majority content. That the authors do not demonstrate an equal level of "depth in knowledge" for the diversity of the subject matters to which they are attempting to cover. That the sum collection of the images in the book fall far short of representing a balanced collection, relative to the textual content, and grossly inferior for what I would expect from "subject matter professions". That the book is structured in a manner that shows a lack of attention to detail. That the book is not very intuitive to navigate with subject matter, at times appearing to be half-hazardly orientated, making quick finding of information difficult at times.

Hence, in that their ambition to complete such a diverse selection of subjects in a single field guide, have diluted what content was of value. What the authors should have done, and the editors failed to do, was limit the extent of the book to which the authors could adequately exhibit proficiency. Basically, write a shorter more condensed book. My advice for the next edition, should there be one, avoid trying to cover topics such as mammals, flowers , fungus, reptiles and amphibians and stay relegated to the topic of birds and trees or get different authors.

minus 0.25 for incomplete subject matter coverage given the title and pages used.
minus 0.25 for the many low quality grey scale images.
minus 0.25 for many images being of inappropriate size and scale.
minus 0.25 for image plates not having page references for the non alphabetically sorted text.
minus 0.25 for essentially no coverage or images of forest mushrooms and fungus.
minus 0.25 for essentially no coverage or images of forest arthropods.
minus 0.25 for essentially no coverage or images of forest reptiles.
minus 0.25 for essentially no coverage or images of forest amphibians.
minus 0.25 for essentially no coverage or images of mosses and lichens.
minus 0.25 for few images of ground cover, flowers and for not noting features in the drawings.
minus 0.25 for few images of live mammals, birds and for not noting features in the drawings.
book has tons of information  Jul 22, 2009
i was thrilled with this book because i'm a plant/soils guy who loves the forests of california... i have been able to use it to help id trees and animals that i come across in the wild . plus i like the natural history elements... book had much more information than i expected and was pleasantly surprised that it covered a lot more geographic regions (like deserts) than i expected.... perfect book to take on a road/camping trip if ur the naturalist curious type

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