RE: Simpson & Day's Australian Field Guide, 5th Edition

To: ozbird <>
Subject: RE: Simpson & Day's Australian Field Guide, 5th Edition
From: "CONOLE, Lawrie" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 96 09:38:00 EET
>>They go on to explain how the book now follows (in the main) Christidis &
>>Boles' checklist and English names;  codes for relative abundance and
>>sedentaryness/nomadism are included;  new species added;  and the Handbook 

>>updated and restructured to follow Christidis & Boles' families.

Some of the new coding & text are useful additions, and it's good to see a 
new edition (almost) in the new taxonomic order.

<snip snip>

>>The book is visually delightful and (as in the previous edition) well 
made: it
>>is a beautiful example of the book designer's craft.

>>The previous editions were criticised by some people for errors in text 
>>distribution maps, and some poor illustrations.  Has anyone looked closely 
>>this new 5th edition and formed a judgement on it?  I, for one, find it
>>excellent, and would probably now recommend it, over the Slater guide, to 

It is still a lousy field guide because it's too big, and the publishers did 
not allow enough repainted plates into this new edition.  The new plates are 
miles better than the old ones, but there aren't enough of them.  Most of 
the Simpson & Day plates still look like a kiddies bedtime story book, and 
are misleading to the point of being a hindrance in the field (particularly 
for inexperienced birders).  Whilst a triumph for book design, it still 
looks like a coffee table book, not a serious field guide.

I've heard that the new Pizzey edition due out in a month or so has a NEW 
ARTIST (Frank Knight??) and entirely NEW PLATES.  Pizzey will again become 
THE book to have in the car for its wonderful text (and maybe plates too 
now), whilst the little Slater volume is the only one worth carrying around 
in the field.  I agree with Alan on that score ..... Pizzey's book is vastly 

Lawrie Conole
Geelong, Victoria

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