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The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada: Written and Illustrated by John Muir Laws Paperback – Illustrated, 1 June 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 504 ratings

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Review

''Laws was so determined to make it easy for people to use this gude, he crammed a wide range of species into one book so hikers and backpackers would find it easy to take with them. Then he arranged it by species and primary characteristics so, from the inside cover, they can flip quickly to the pages that cover the plant or animal they've seen for a quick identification. Laws' stunning illustrations are accompanied by observations and requests, like on page 309: Keep an eye out for the wolverine, now feared extinct.''--The San Francisco Chronicle

''If you have room for only one Sierra Nevada guidebook in your pack, make it this little gem....Dense with illustration, it's the perfect all-ages introduction to field guides. Well-researched natural history notes pull the reader more deeply into the story of these iconic mountains.''--Sierra Magazine

''He took his first hike into the Sierra Nevada, the landscape of his obsession, while still in the womb. His parents named him John Muir Laws. He once spent a week searching for a single perfect orchid to paint. He says 'I am constantly amazed by things'--Such as? 'The diversity of chipmunks.' He is not joking. He cares about newts. If asked, he does an excellent imitation of a startled vole. He has opinions about beetles... The new field guide, already praised by outdoor connoisseurs as a naturalist's bible, begins with 'Small Fungi growing on Wood' and ends with stars. It is small enough to slip in your pocket but includes 1,700 species of flowers, trees, bugs, frogs, snails, skinks, birds, fish, rodents. It took him six years. The world needs more of this--this kind of sustained, informed, deep gee-whizdom... Laws painted every wildflower in his book from sketches in the field. The same with the birds, except for the great horned owl which he kept missing. 'We have this idea that all robins, for example, look the same,' says Laws. 'But they don't. Any more than collies look alike or all humans. It's because we are not looking hard enough.'... When he was a boy hiking on the John Muir Trail, he dreamed of creating the perfect field guide, not a guide made by experts, but a book by an enthusiast. 'My criteria for inclusion in the book: Either it is so common you'll trip over it all the time. Or not so common--maybe it is just some subtle little thing, but they are so stunning or their story is so great, I had to include it,' he says. Why? 'Because the more people fall in love with the diversity of life, the more people will fight to protect it,' Laws says. '...The point really is not to identify a creature or a plant and move on. The point is to learn the story.''' --William Booth, Washington Post, Sunday Jan. 13, 2008

''From fungi to forest to frogs and fish, the book is a small but powerful treasure of reference to nature.'' --
The Sacramento Bee

'He took his first hike into the Sierra Nevada, the landscape of his obsession, while still in the womb. His parents named him John Muir Laws. He once spent a week searching for a single perfect orchid to paint. He says ''I am constantly amazed by things''--Such as? ''The diversity of chipmunks.'' He is not joking. He cares about newts. If asked, he does an excellent imitation of a startled vole. He has opinions about beetles... The new field guide, already praised by outdoor connoisseurs as a naturalist's bible, begins with ''Small Fungi growing on Wood'' and ends with stars. It is small enough to slip in your pocket but includes 1,700 species of flowers, trees, bugs, frogs, snails, skinks, birds, fish, rodents. It took him six years. The world needs more of this --this kind of sustained , informed, deep gee-whizdom... Laws painted every wildflower in his book from sketches in the field. The same with the birds, except for the great horned owl which he kept missing. ''We have this idea that all robins, for example, look the same,'' says Laws. ''But they don't. Any more than collies look alike or all humans. It's because we are not looking hard enough.''... When he was a boy hiking on the John Muir Trail, he dreamed of creating the perfect field guide, not a guide made by experts, but a book by an enthusiast. ''My criteria for inclusion in the book: Either it is so common you'll trip over it all the time. Or not so common--maybe it is just some subtle little thing, but they are so stunning or their story is so great, I had to include it,'' he says. Why? ''Because the more people fall in love with the diversity of life, the more people will fight to protect it,'' Laws says. ''...The point really is not to identify a creature or a plant and move on. The point is to learn the story.''' ---- William Booth,
Washington Post, Sunday Jan. 13, 2008

From the Back Cover

Easy-to-use features include:

--Intuitive organization, color tabs, and simple keys

--Similar-looking species side by side

--Over 2,800 full-color illustrations

--Range maps of species that are otherwise difficult to distinguish

--Index of common and scientific names

--Lightweight and compact ideal for backpacking

Impressively detailed and comprehensive, the guide includes:

--More than 1,700 species

--Descriptions of behavior, adaptations, and interactions between species

--Species and topics not found in most guides, including aquatic life, spiders and webs, plankton, plant galls, bark beetle galleries, animal tracks and evidence, seasonal star charts, weather patterns, and cloud formations


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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HeyDay Books; Illustrated edition (1 June 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 159714052X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1597140522
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 11.43 x 1.91 x 22.23 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 504 ratings

About the author

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John Muir Laws is a naturalist, educator, and artist. He has degrees in conservation and resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula, as well as certification in scientific illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is an Audubon TogetherGreen fellow and a research associate with the California Academy of Sciences. He is the author of "The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds." "The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada" and "Sierra Birds: A Hiker's Guide." Visit his website at www.johnmuirlaws.com.

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Clive Bushnell
3.0 out of 5 stars always a compromise. Worth having, but not comprehensive ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 September 2014
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Johannes Staab
5.0 out of 5 stars umfangreich informativ
Reviewed in Germany on 10 August 2013
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Michael A. Cibulka
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Reviewed in Canada on 4 May 2019
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Naomi Manygoats
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down the best field guide ever produced.
Reviewed in the United States on 20 October 2018
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13 people found this helpful
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V. Shadlow
4.0 out of 5 stars I used wildflower identification by flower color, # of petals, with color illustrations...
Reviewed in the United States on 16 July 2022
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