Once again, Jenkins (Big and Little, 1996, etc.) provides jaw-dropping facts and extremely elegant paper collages to illustrate the amazing natural world. Readers are introduced to the deepest ocean trench, the highest mountain (in terms of elevation) and the tallest (from foot to summit), the longest river, the hottest patch, the coldest, the most active volcanoes, the most extreme tides. The lyric beauty and sense Jenkins brings to his collages manifest a sense of place. Inset maps--global and regional--and measurement charts (often using humans and the Empire State Building for scale) allow these extremes to make geographical and quantitative sense. Some of the material is contestable; Jenkins cites a spot on Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, as the windiest place, with winds of 231 mph, while the Guam typhoon of 1997 had winds of 236 mph. Such quibbling only makes the book more valuable, inspiring readers to do further research after they've been visually seduced.