Everywhere you go on the Internet you see kudos for Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange (insert joke about the book being “ubiquitous” here). It won an Eureka! Gold Award from California Reads. It has been nominated for a Cybils award (in the poetry category). A Fuse#8 Production has a review, with a list of other reviews and extensive related links. What more is there to say?
Starting with bacteria, Sidman has chosen to highlight organisms that have survived when others have gone extinct. She gives both the good (bacteria have important jobs) and the bad (a few can cause disease). Accompanying each are Prange’s delightful illustrations, also power-packed with information if you only know to look. And, if you have heard any of the buzz about this book you know, Prange’s use of yarn to make a timeline of the earth just has to be seen to be appreciated. Amazing!
Being a biologist by training, I was interested in the serious nonfiction side of this book. Yes, each creature Joyce Sidman has chosen is represented by a lovely, creative poem. Opposite, however, is a page of exquisitely condensed scientific information, including (gasp!) scientific names. Let’s be upfront, this book takes a decidedly modern, scientific view of how the world came to be.
Given the extensive amount of research the author did, the experts she consulted and how up-to-the-minute her information, this book in many ways surpasses those filed in the 500’s rather than the 800’s. Add my kudos to the long list of others for this book.
As for reading level, I think that (once again) although Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors looks like a picture book and the poetry is deceptively short and sweet, it is more appropriate for older children.
If you love poetry and want to see the 14 organisms Sidman and Prange chose to celebrate as survivors, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.
If anyone from Houghton Mifflin stops by: A poster set with the poems and illustrations and the nonfiction information on the back, including the yarn timeline, would probably be found in every classroom and household in the country. 🙂
Reading level: Ages 4-8 (Amazon)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 5, 2010)
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Anastasia Suen’s Nonfiction Monday page. This week’s post is at Playing By The Book.