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Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  630 ratings  ·  149 reviews
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):
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 5th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  630 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 4th & 5th grade science & nature students, particularly those who like poetry
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
Stellar presentation via poetry, prose, and illustrations, of animal and plant survivors, those who arose from between 3.8 billion years ago (bacteria) to 100,000 years ago (humans). What it does, it does exceedingly well, I think.

Each species of life, shown from oldest to most recently developed in evolutionary terms, is covered via a poem, text giving scientific facts about it, and an illustration or illustrations.

The poems are of all types and are a perfect complement to the straight prose a
I knew I was going to like this book when I read the first poem and realized that Joyce Sidman is talented enough to make bacteria sound beautiful and interesting to yours truly (easily grossed-out and squeamish and not exactly scientifically inclined):

ancient, tiny
teeming, mixing, melding
strands curled like ghostly hands
winking, waving, waking
first, miraculous

I was hooked! The book presents a poem and then a paragraph of factual information about various species that have been the
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I believe that there are different muses of children's literature. You have you Beautiful Spine muses, your Great Editor muses, your Awe-Inspiring Marketing muses, and your Copyediting Magnificence muses. Each one of these references those elements of the production of a book that authors and illustrators cannot wholly control. In terms of picture books, however, the greatest muse of all these, the big mama muse on high, would have to be the Serendipity Muse. This is the muse that pairs great au ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Poet Joyce Sidman and artist Beckie Prange have created a unique and marvelous book for children aged 5 through 12 in Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors. The ecclectic poems introduce the reader to living organisms ranging from bacteria to coyote...and finally, to human beings. Each living organism is introduced in the form of a poem first: some are free verse; others are riddled with rhyme; while several actually take shape in the form of concrete p ...more
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Have you ever been deceived by assuming a book by it’s cover? Literally, Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman is one of those books. Although seemingly innocent and plain on the outside, on the inside, lies the beauty of nature.....followed by a scientific explanation. From the simplest of organisms to top predators who have survived on our earth for more than 400 million years, Ubiquitous is exactly what it’s name perceives it as. It is everywhere; starting from explaining the first life on earth. Combi ...more
Marta Michniewicz
Ubiquitous is a rather unusual book, verging on being an informative book on the one hand and a poetry volume on the other.

As far as the informative side of Ubiquitous is concerned, the book contains a very detailed descriptions of the living forms, such as lichens, mollusks or the ants. The descriptions are composed of complex sentences that frequently contain advanced, specific vocabulary, such as "acid rain" or "pollen." While using such specific terms is certainly necessary to provide an exh
Ubiquitous is probably far more than a two star book to the right child. There's a lot going on here. It explores lots of different life forms (plant as well as animal), some of which younger kids may not even be aware of, and the text for each, while interesting, is more advanced. It's probably at a 4th-6th grade reading level. In addition to descriptive text, the pictures of each life form were also accompanied by a poem. This is a nice touch--if the kids you're dealing with like poetry. My ni ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful book, a unique combination of poetry, science and art. The illustrations are great and the line drawing of the timeline of evolution on the endpages is very mind boggling. The author's and illustrator's notes at the end were very informative and afterwards we visited the author's website ( as recommended.

We read this book slowly, savoring one or two creatures at a time so as to fully appreciate the book. This is definitely one I'd read again, even just fo
Kiley Ellis
audience: This book would be best for students in grades 2-5. This book would be a good choice for students that are interested in animals, biology, and the history of animal and plant species.

appeal: This book is full of facts about animals and plants, and how they have adapted and survived since the beginning of time. To accompany the facts this book also contains poems written about the different animals and plants. The books also contains text features that are appealing to students. The ill
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-nonfiction
A great marriage of curious scientific detail, poetry pieces, and vivid illustrations. Nature’s survivors are depicted from oldest to youngest - from bacteria to humans. Important environmental concepts are outlined in the descriptive paragraphs addressing evolution, adaptability and other significant details of the species social system such as ants cooperative nature often studied and copied by corporations. The book ends on a somber note talking about humans as “one of the most destructive sp ...more
Abby Johnson
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ubiquitous: Something that is (or seems to be) everywhere at the same time.

What do bacteria, sharks, beetles, and grass have in common? They're organisms that have adapted to be prolific over long periods of time all over the world. They're ubiquitous. In creative poems and beautiful illustrations, Sidman and Prange present these organisms and many more.

This is a really, really neat book!!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Loved it! Nice poems, done in various poetic forms, accompanied by factual information, about some of the oldest surviving species on the planet. I especially liked "The Lichen We," modeled after a poem by Siegfried Sassoon, and "Tail Tale," written in the voice of a squirrel. Beautiful book--a possible Caldecott nominee for 2011? Recommended!!
Oct 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
The poems are great (some of them GREAT), but the scientific paragraphs are nothing special, which I think takes this out of serious Newbery contention. Illustrations are lovely. This has Sibert written all over it.
The nonfiction write ups on each species are good and interesting, but the poetry I found to be just meh.
jocelyn hanan
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one will defiantly make it onto my personal shelf. I loved it and it will work perfectly into future lessons of mine.
Audrey's Picture Books
I really enjoyed the description of each life form, as well as the selection of them. You don't often see diatoms mentioned in picture books. On the other hand, the poetry isn't very good.
Abby doodlepants
Love the time line on the end pages.
Seema Rao
A non-fiction picture book with facts, poetry, and pictures sharing ideas about some of the most ubiquitous species on earth. Lovely endpapers underscore how recently humanity showed up.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
Lovely and informative. And those endpapers!
Cameron Walker
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great nonfiction book that provides perfect information on our biological world. It shows many organisms and critters that we live with. It also notes how we evolved, which is a great topic for young kids to begin grasping.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Combining poetry, art & science inspires curiosity to explore our interconnected natural world, including evolutionary biology. Although intended for kids up to age 12, many adults will also appreciate this celebration of deep time. Further reading is highlighted in the back of the book. This ALA Notable book is one of many attractive kids’ books of nature revelry by author Joyce Sidman that I’m curious to investigate soon.
Emily McKnight
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Illustrations: linocuts, hand colored with watercolor
Summary/Personal Response: This is a really cool book of poems about "nature's survivors" On the page next to each of the poems are informative paragraphs about the organism -including their scientific names and classifications (Kingdom , Phylums, Class, Order, Family, Genus) This book is so informative for young learners! It also has a glossary, and title definition, as well as timeline like map of the organisms.
Kayla Spires
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Am amazing representation of nature and evolution. Sidman informs readers of different lifeforms using complex poetry filled with alliteration and rhythm. The illustrations are what attracted me to this book. They are subtle unsaturated colors with an abundance of detail and texture that make the book that much more interesting. Great for a science lesson or a poetry lesson.
Joshua Arvey
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, older-kids
Title: Ubiquitous
Poet: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beckie Prange
Genre: Fantasy
Themes: Poetry , Picture Book, Nonfiction

Plot Summery: I have found that Ubiquitous is a very interesting poetry book. In this book there are 14 different poems. Each of these 14 poems have their own topic but are all related to living things. Each topic consists of two pages. On the one page there is the poem about the designated topic. On the other side it gives facts about the topic. For example there is a topic about
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange

Kindergarten and up

After reading Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman, you will have a newfound respect for a group of organisms you never knew deserved it. From bacteria to dandelions, Sidman has written a poem accompanied by informational text about organisms which date back millions or billions of years. Sidman provides the scientific name, either the kingdom, phylum, class, or order,
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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? How did the gecko survive 160 million years? How did the shark & the crow & the tiny ant survive millions & 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 & puddles, inside houses &
Dec 05, 2012 added it
Sidman, Joyce. (2010). Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Illustrated by Beckie Prange. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 32 pp. ISBN 978-0-618-71719-4 (Hardcover) $17.00.

Beginning with the cotton string timeline on the endpapers, proceeding through the fourteen survivors featured in the poetry, and continuing through the glossary and author’s notes, we have a book that spans the ages. Each double page spread features a poem often captured as part of the graphic design, factual information abou
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: infm208
From the illustration on the endpapers of a single length of yarn representing the timeline of when the earth began over 4 billion years ago to its first inhabitants of bacteria to its latest inhabitants of humans, through the poetry and pictures within, “Ubiquitous” is a unique combination of scientific fact, poetry, and humour. Although not all inclusive, the author uses fourteen different species that have found a way to adapt over time and are still currently surviving on earth today. From t ...more
Agnes U
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is packed with great ideas and ways to express them. The book begins and ends with what seems to be a timeline of swirls from warm to cold colors (red, orange, yellow to blue, green). The reader is informed that sometime later after the Earth was created bacteria was formed, much later other more advanced forms of life came to the existence. I think that this is a unique and interesting way of showing children how much time can pass, comparing it to limitless line loops. The book provi ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The front cover is adorned with a Gecko, who also gets a two page opening in the middle of this book. The Gecko is munching a fly to show how he has survived through time as a descendant of ancient lizards. Beautiful front and back endpapers show a maze connecting Earth from 4.6 billion years ago to now from bacteria, mollusks, lichens, and sharks to dandelions, coyotes, and humans. The two page openings in this book present different types of poetry complimenting short, fact-filled text entries ...more
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The Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman is today's foremost nature poet for children. Accolades for her books include two Caldecott Honors, a Lee Bennet Hopkins Award, winner of the Claudia Lews Award, and many stars and best of lists. For her award-winning body of work, she won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. Visit