Dragonfly by David Chandler and Steve Cham |128 Pages | New Holland |Hard Back | 2013 | ISBN-978-1-78009-229-4
As any of you who read my blog will know I am a fan of Dragonflies or Odonata (Just in case you think I mean only the true dragonflies rather than dragonfly and damselfly), I love watching them as they zip about in the summer air and taking (or at least attempting to take) their photos as they flex their powerful jaws or flick about their amazing compound eyes, in fact I have a whole project dedicated to photographing the Dragonflies of Milton Keynes so when I was offered the chance to review Dragonfly by David Chandler (writer) and Steve Cham (photographer) I jumped at the chance (who wouldn’t).
Dragonfly by David Chandler and Steve Cham – Review
Usually I can’t wait to jump into a book, but sometimes a book comes along that at first glance looks so exquisite that you don’t want to open the pages in case you crease the bindings, The amazing cut out cover on silk black just screams pure class and this is one book I will proudly keep on my desk just to show people it exists (and all this without opening a page!).
Anyway, when you finally do open the book, the first thing that slaps you in the face is just how good the photographs that Steve Cham takes are (I take dragonfly photos and I get some good ones, but the works in this book are amazing). The book is littered with outstanding photographs of incredible looking Odonata of all shapes and colours and if you ever find yourself wanting to pique someone’s interest in this order of creatures you could do worse than to show them the images in this book.
Not A Field guide
Now this book is NOT an identification guide, no this is a book that will teach you all about the world of Dragonflies, where they live (locations as well as habitat), how they live, how long have they been around (some 350 million years) the anatomy, how they fly, what they eat, what eats them, their mating cycle, the amazing life-cycle from egg to water dwelling nymph and on to vibrant and face paced adulthood and let’s face it anything you could ever want to know about a Dragonfly.
David Chandlers writing is friendly, easy to read and really draws you into the micro world of the Dragonfly, you don’t feel like he is talking down but rather talking with the enthusiasm of one who loves what he is talking about (a rare breed of writer in my opinion).
Anything I don’t like?
Do you know once you get over the not wanting to hurt such a stunning book there is little else will stop you reading the whole thing as quickly as you can. It’s like a gripping thriller or fantasy novel you just can’t put down. Each new discovery leads you onto the next as you weave your way through the amazing world of the Dragonflies. Following the trail of stunning images; till finally you reach the end and want more. I am now eagerly waiting the Odonata season to kick off on the patch so I can put my new understanding to work. By really knowing what actions I am seeing. So what didn’t I like? Oh yeah… um… nothing, this is my new favourite non-fiction book.
Actually I have just thought of something I don’t like, and that is that I didn’t take the photos!
If you don’t love Odonata then read this (and look at the pictures) and you’ll change your mind. Like them and you will love them. Love them and you will have a much better understanding of what they go through to bring you this pleasure. It is brilliantly written; full of great images; and a stunning book that would look great on any desk or bookshelf. Go buy it!
As an aside to my usual disclaimer (as it may look like I have gone a bit over the top). And in case anyone thinks different I have never (to my knowledge) met either David or Steve (although I would like to one day now). And was free to write what I liked, I would not review otherwise.
You can read more of my reviews here