Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors

Overview

From the creators of the Caldecott Honor Book Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems comes a celebration of ubiquitous life forms among us. Newbery Honor-winning poet Joyce Sidman presents another unusual blend of fine poetry and fascinating science illustrated in exquisite hand-colored linocuts by Caldecott Honor artist Beckie Prange.

Ubiquitous (yoo-bik-wi-tuhs): Something that is (or seems to be) everywhere at the same time.

Why is ...

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Overview

From the creators of the Caldecott Honor Book Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems comes a celebration of ubiquitous life forms among us. Newbery Honor-winning poet Joyce Sidman presents another unusual blend of fine poetry and fascinating science illustrated in exquisite hand-colored linocuts by Caldecott Honor artist Beckie Prange.

Ubiquitous (yoo-bik-wi-tuhs): Something that is (or seems to be) everywhere at the same time.

Why is the beetle, born 265 million years ago, still with us today? (Because its wings mutated and hardened). How did the gecko survive 160 million years? (By becoming nocturnal and developing sticky toe pads.) How did the shark and the crow and the tiny ant survive millions and millions of years? When 99 percent of all life forms on earth have become extinct, why do some survive? And survive not just in one place, but in many places: in deserts, in ice, in lakes and puddles, inside houses and forest and farmland? Just how do they become ubiquitous?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The creators of the Caldecott Honor Book Song of the Waterboatman and Other Pond Poems (2005) offer another winning blend of poetry, science, and art in this picture-book collection that celebrates the Earth’s most resilient and long-lived species."—Booklist, starred review
 
"The team behind the Caldecott-Honor winning Song of the Water Boatman pays tribute to biologically successful species—from mollusks and lichens to dandelions and sharks—in poems that appear in order of each animal's first appearance on earth (a striking, mazelike time line puts the billions of years into perspective)...Fascinating factual information appears on each page; the graceful integration of science and art results in a celebratory story of survival."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
"This volume of beautifully illustrated poems investigates the natural world, from the single-celled bacteria and diatom to the ever-present ant and dandelion. Well-researched science facts are paired with vivid poems to describe how these very special life-forms avoided extinction to become nature’s survivors...From the depiction of ant tunnels to the surprising perspective of blades of grass, the bold and colorful linocuts are incredibly detailed and successfully capture the essence of each creature as part of its larger environment. A delightful feast for the eyes, ears, and mind."—School Library Journal, starred review
 
"Sidman delights with another gorgeous collection of poems celebrating the natural world, this time focusing on species remarkable for their ability to adapt and thrive in an often-harsh world...The text is accompanied and frequently surrounded by Prange’s arresting linocuts hand-colored with watercolor. Vibrant and compelling, the illustrations help create and sustain the sense of wonder that makes this collection truly special. Occupying the endpapers is an eye-opening timeline that marks the appearance of each species on a coiled string that strikingly dramatizes the long march of life on Earth. Lovely."—Kirkus, starred review
 
"From the creators of Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems (rev. 5/05), fourteen additional deft poems extended by background information and entrancing illustrations...Prange drenches her bold linocuts in vivid watercolor-the translucent underside of a wave, a gorgeous sunset over a pack of ever-more-ubiquitous coyotes. She's master of both the precisely observed (dandelions from bud to seeds aloft) and the accurate impression (crows conversing)."—Horn Book , starred review

"It's a true collaboration. There's a back and forth to this book that you don't always feel in collections of poetry....It's certainly a beautiful book....Hold on to it."—Betsy Bird, Fuse #8

 

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Sidman begins the story from the newly formed earth and "First Life" bacteria. In chronological order follow creatures that emerged and have persisted up to the present, from mollusks, lichens, and sharks through beetles, diatoms, geckos and ants, squirrels, crows, and dandelions on to humans. Each of the thirteen characters has its own double page. On one side are carefully crafted poems in varying formats, which effectively capture the spirit, the essence, of the subject. On the opposing pages appears a wealth of additional factual information. Prange's watercolor-and-linoleum cuts create vivid scenes that supply visual information with great clarity. Designed imaginatively according to the stage of evolution, the sequence of long vertical illustrations is attractively composed with concern for esthetic content. The end pages display a striking visualization of the 4.6 billion year journey from the earth's formation to the appearance of humans. The spaghetti-like twistings of red lines that very gradually turn to blue are drawn to scale for an impressive visual presentation of fact. Notes from author and illustrator and a "Glossary" are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–6—This volume of beautifully illustrated poems investigates the natural world, from the single-celled bacteria and diatom to the ever-present ant and dandelion. Well-researched science facts are paired with vivid poems to describe how these very special life-forms avoided extinction to become nature's survivors. The book begins 4.6 billion years ago with a newly formed Earth and continues through time as it introduces 14 types of life that are still with us today. Starting with bacteria (3.8 billion years old) and including mollusks (500 million years old), ants (140 million years old), and coyotes (2.3 million years old), the journey continues to the youngest of species, the "wise humans" or homo sapiens, that have inhabited the Earth for only 100,000 years. An illustrated time line helps bring this massive scale into the realm of children's understanding. Each spread includes a poem, amazing facts, and an exquisite, hand-colored linocut. Sidman uses a variety of poetic structures, including diamante, rhyming couplets, and unrhymed verse, and unexpected language choices to create diverse and vivid word pictures of each species. This melding of science and humor makes for enjoyable reading. The stunning illustrations engage readers and encourage questioning and further exploration. From the depiction of ant tunnels to the surprising perspective of blades of grass, the bold and colorful linocuts are incredibly detailed and successfully capture the essence of each creature as part of its larger environment. A delightful feast for the eyes, ears, and mind.—Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY
Abby McGanney Nolan
In this book about species that have endured as well as spread around the world, Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange follow the winning format of their Song of the Water Boatman (2005): a paragraph of factual information, an eye-catching illustration and a poem—all about a certain form of life…The poems spring wonderfully from the well-conveyed facts, but Sidman also looks for the personality of each species.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The team behind the Caldecott Honor–winning Song of the Water Boatman pays tribute to biologically successful species—from mollusks and lichens to dandelions and sharks—in poems that appear in order of each animal’s first appearance on earth (a striking, mazelike time line puts the billions of years into perspective). Sidman’s words are vivid and affectionate—about single-celled diatoms, she writes, “Curl of sea-/ green wave/ alive/ with invisible jewels/ almost/ too beautiful/ to eat,” and Prange’s expressive linocuts capture the character of each animal. Fascinating factual information appears on each page; the graceful integration of science and art results in a celebratory story of survival. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Sidman delights with another gorgeous collection of poems celebrating the natural world, this time focusing on species remarkable for their ability to adapt and thrive in an often-harsh world. Arranging her "survivors" in chronological order of time on Earth, she begins with bacteria and mollusks, moving through sharks, ants, grasses, squirrels, dandelions, crows and coyotes before arriving at the youngest survivor, humans. Each double-page spread features a poem, the tone-and often form-of which reflects its subject; some are elegant and serious, others chatty and witty. Each poem is joined by an informative paragraph that provides more detail about the behaviors and characteristics highlighted in the poem. The text is accompanied and frequently surrounded by Prange's arresting linocuts hand-colored with watercolor. Vibrant and compelling, the illustrations help create and sustain the sense of wonder that makes this collection truly special. Occupying the endpapers is an eye-opening timeline that marks the appearance of each species on a coiled string that strikingly dramatizes the long march of life on Earth. Lovely. (glossary) (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618717194
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/5/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 244,528
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Sidman lives in Wayzata, Minnesota, where she battles dandelions with great respect for their survival techniques. www.joycesidman.com

Beckie Prange lives in Ely, Minnesota, where she spends as much time as possible in the woods looking at lichens, crows, and other hardy northern species. Her first book received a Caldecott Honor. www.beckieprange.com

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