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Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors Hardcover – April 5, 2010

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  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors
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Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
From the creators of the Caldecott Honor Book Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems...

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?

Amazon Exclusive: The Process of Beckie Prange, Illustrator of Ubiquitous
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

To create the intricate timeline found on the endpapers, Prange measured and laid out yarn This is the print she made from the yarn The print was then painted to create the final image

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 1300L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618717196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618717194
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.3 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Joyce Sidman is known for her fresh, inventive poetry for children. Her award-winning books include Dark Emperor (A Newbery Honor Book), Song of the Water Boatman and Red Sings from Treetops (both Caldecott Honor Books), Butterfly Eyes (Cybils Award), and This Is Just to Say (Claudia Lewis Poetry Award). A recent starred review in School Library Journal said, "Sidman's ear is keen, capturing many voices. Her skill as a poet accessible to young people is unmatched." Born in Connecticut, Joyce now lives in Minnesota. Visit her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Throughout time innumerable species have called Earth its home, yet a full 99% of these life forms have disappeared. Which ones have adapted to the relentless changes over the course of countless millennia and just how did they manage to survive when so many others perished? In this book you will learn about fourteen of them. You will learn about which botanical division they are in the hierarchy of life, how long they have existed on Earth, their size, and just how they managed to survive. You will begin with the first life form, bacteria, which began 3.8 billion years ago and will complete your journey with the human being and learn how our species survived after arriving 100,000 years ago. In between you will learn about the mollusks, lichens, sharks, beetles, diatoms, geckos, ants, grasses, squirrels, crows, dandelions, and coyotes.

Gecko on the Wall

Her jaws dart out
To crunch up flies.

Her tongue flicks up
To wipe her eyes.

She climbs up walls
With eerie cries.

Her tail comes off:
A wriggling prize!

She sprints and leaps
and slinks and spies . . .

Don't you wish you were a gecko?

This superbly crafted blend of poetry and the "celebration" of Earth's rare "survivalist" life forms is simply stunning. This blend brings something as simple as the lichen and actually makes it seem exciting. Each life form is accompanied by a poem and vibrant illustrations that animate the pages. The poems are varied and range from the diamante to an incredible free flowing verse that takes the form of a shark. I found and sensed a lot of excitement in a topic that normally many children would bypass as dull.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
UBIQUITOUS by Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange is the most exciting book I encountered last month at ALA in Boston.

UBIQUITOUS gracefully intertwines poetry, prose, and illustration on the topic of why certain life forms have beaten the odds and remained viable on our planet over unfathomable lengths of time while the vast majority of life forms have come and gone.

UBIQUITOUS exposes readers to a great variety of poetic forms and to the concept of having poetry and prose side by side. (Thus, modeling the concept of having a poem introduce a topic.) It is exactly what we -- well, I -- want to see happening with poetry in science and math and history classrooms and in the gymnasium and...well, does anybody out there still teach drivers ed?

UBIQUITOUS is a true picture book. The poems, prose, and illustrations interact and each contributes fully to the presentation of the concepts and to the enjoyment of the book. The prose segment of the spread on lichens (as with the others) runs approximately 150 clear and well-chosen words. The last book this duo designed was the Caldecott Honor book
SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN & OTHER POND POEMS. I'm not going out on a limb -- just stating the obvious -- in predicting that members of several ALA committees, NCTE committees, IRA committees, and poetry award committees will all be fully aware of what is accomplished here.

UBIQUITOUS begins and ends with a creative and eye-catchingly colorful and swirling endpage timeline which depicts where many of the book's subjects fit into the scheme of things. (For those of us who remember high school science, that means that bacteria is way over to the left and everything else is way over to the right.) I am teaching a class to library students this summer on children's and young adult poetry and UBIQUITOUS will be the first trade poetry book each of them will be required to read for the class. It's that good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes, it is the chart that makes a book unique. There is a book called "Down, Down, Down" by Steve Jenkins that has a descending chart of the ocean depths - wow!

And there is a book called "Subway" by Christoph Niemann with a graphical depiction of the New York subway system that will knock your socks off.

And then there is this book, with a 4.6 billion year timeline squiggled across the end pages that really grabs your attention and shows you... just how long, just how vast, just how amazing the time on earth has been. There is telling, and then there is SHOWING. This book SHOWS you. I have a house full of VISUAL boys. Show them.

All the illustrations in this book are top-notch, but that timeline really steals the show. This book includes a poem for each survivor-life-form - these are the tough life forms that have withstood and will persevere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Booked for life on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book will put a smile on anyone's face. Except a kid struggling with reading, because ubiquitous is long word. But for a kid with curiosity this is an adventure in a book. Poetry and science and art usually don't mix too well and there are actually several examples languishing in my library and yours. But this astonishing astonishing book manages to have light, beautiful poetry, rich art, and convenient capsules of information on a wide array of creatures. My staff was oohing and aahing over this book that just arrived in the library. It's probably the ideal book to give any natural scientist, "greener than thou" relative, or poetry lover. But the art just has to be seen to be believed. The page on grass was beautiful--how do you do that??
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