The Firefly Visual Dictionary

by Jean-Claude Corbeil, Ariane Archambault
960 pages,
ISBN: 1552975851

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It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The truth of the statement is amply evident in the pages of the Firefly Visual Dictionary. The book is itself beyond verbal description. It's absolutely stunning, with 6,000 color images depicting entire disciplines and what falls within. There are 17 sections: Astronomy, Earth, Vegetable Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Human Being, Food and Kitchen, House, Do-it-Yourself and Gardening, Clothing, Personal Adornment and Articles, Arts and Architecture, Communications and Office Automation, Transport and Machinery, Energy, Science, Society, and Sports and Games. The sub-subsections are too numerous to list here. But just to give the reader a partial impression of how complete this visual encyclopaedia is I'll enumerate the sub-headers for the Earth section. They are: Geography, Geology, Meteorology, and Environment. And to give further example, the Geology subsection contains images of the following: structure of the Earth, section of the Earth's crust, tectonic plates, earthquake, volcano, mountain, glacier, cave, landslides, watercourse, lakes, wave, ocean floor, ocean trenches and ridges, common coastal features, and desert. The illustrations are crisp, brilliantly-coloured, and include cross-sections revealing in full detail the physical structure of the promised items, such as a volcano during eruption, along with two smaller cross-sections of an explosive volcano and an effusive volcano. In the chapter, Food and Kitchen, pages and pages are given over to illustrations of every kitchen utensil in existence. If you haven't the slightest notion of what a diable or couscous kettle look like, you'll get the full picture here. Under silverware, you see all of the different forks, dinner knives, and spoons; there's even a part-by-part description of a knife, fork and spoon. In the Do-It-Yourself and Gardening Chapter, you'll learn about every type of carpentry tool¨instruments for screwing, sawing, drilling, shaping, gripping and tightening, measuring and marking, and on and on. Here again, the beauty of the dictionary is that every tiny part is clearly illustrated and labeled. You can see the blade locking bolt on the circular saw, the miter latch on the electric miter saw, and the speed selector switch on the cordless drill. The battery pack, charger, and chuck key are illustrated separately beside the cordless drill, and there is a vertical side column which shows examples of bits and drills with every miniscule part of their structures made visible and clearly labeled.

I can't say enough about this book. It is 960 pages long, weighs 3.6 kilograms, and is worth its weight in gold. Every household should have it. Kids will use it for schoolwork, teachers will use it as an aid in the classroom, and visual artists will find it indispensable. This book will also assist translators and terminologists. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, why not preview the contents for yourself by visiting Firefly's website at: www.fireflybooks.com.


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