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Priceless - A Book Review
by Serge Kahili King

LemurThe book is Priceless: The vanishing beauty of a fragile planet, by Bradley Trevor Greive, described as the international best-selling author of The Blue Day Book, and featuring the images of Mitsuaki Iwago. It was published in 2003 by Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, Missouri. The cover price is US$18.95.

What is really priceless about this book is the photography. The text, what little there is of it, is rather conventional "save the planet" stuff like the following, which is spread over seven pages:

"To preserve our home and the priceless creatures that dwell within it you need only see the world as it is and have a vision of how it could be. Then hold fast to this vision and let it guide your steps, your voice, and your heart. If you can do that then there will be hope, there will be beauty, there will be joy, there will be life on earth (and you will never have to live in a world without pandas)."

Mind you, I like the sentiments, but it's been said that way too often. The best of the text, in my opinion, is in the back of the book where detailed information is given on every animal in every photograph.

"Ah!" those photographs. "Oooh!" those photographs. "Gasp!" those photographs. I'm not often stunned any more, but these are among the most, dare I say it, "priceless" animal photographs I have ever seen anywhere. Mammals, birds, insects, are all presented through the eyes of a master who knows and loves his craft. If, at times, the text seems to sing, it is only because of the brilliant orchestral background provided by the photographer. Although Grieve gets top billing, this is really Iwago's book.

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