To begin with, after reading the other reviews here, there is an apparent problem. I am not sure what happened, but it would seem that folks are reviewing two different books! This work, ISBN 0-7566-1365-5 has the title "Snake - The Essential Visual Guide to the World of Snakes" by Chris Mattison. It is by DK Publishing and the date of publication is 2006. We seem to have gotten our snake books mixed up here. The picture featured on this page is the same that I have in front of me now and is the one I am reviewing. That being said....
This is quite a remarkable book. It gives a broad overview of the world of snakes. The author, Chris Mattison starts with a chapter which gives general information about these wonderful creatures. He discusses their evolution, various environments, size and shapes, scales and their various patterns, anatomy and mobility, sense organs, hunting and feeding methods, venomous snakes, passive defense mechanisms, active defense mechanisms, reproduction, classification systems and, very importantly, conservation. The rest of the book consists primarily of a "snake Gallery" where the author discusses various specific species. The author then adds a very nice Snake Directory where he addresses various family groups.
The photography in this volume is some of the best I have reviewed. The photographs are vivid, sharp and very, very colorful. There are 450 illustration and close-up photographs and over 60 individual snake species represented. The text is general in format with short blurbs about each subject snake and is chucked full of great snake trivia. The book is simply a joy to read, over and over again.
Now please note. This is not a complicated text ment for the expert or the advanced student. The author's intent, which is so stated by the author, is to introduce folks to these creatures, spread some basic knowledge and understanding and give some idea where these creatures fall in natures plan. The text is indeed simple, but not overly so. The author does not use highly technical terms so this work is great for not only adults, but kids in general. The book consists of approximately 192 large pages and each page is packed with good, interesting and useful information. Now I am not a "snake expert" by any means, although I have been handling, collecting, photographing and observing them for well over 50 years now. From my limited knowledge, I found no errors in the text nor any bad information. Now all of you folks out there that are extremely knowledgable in this subject, just remember that not ever one shares your knowledge and every one has to start somewhere. As you know, there are many, many technical books out there, suitable for all levels. If you fall into this category, then you probably need to seek a more specific work. Just give the beginner and the curious a chance.
This work would be wonderful for any school library, home schooler or anywhere interested and curious folks gather. I like this one setting near my reading chair as it is a joy to pick up now and then, read a bit and just look at the pictures. Recommend this one highly.