Celebrating Earth Day


Ubiq­ui­tous, Joyce Sidman

How did you cel­e­brate? How about your class­room? Your library? Your family?

We went to Joyce Sid­man’s pub­li­ca­tion par­ty for Ubiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors (Houghton Mif­flin), illus­trat­ed with linoleum block prints by Becky Prange, who lives in Ely, Min­neso­ta, and was trained as a sci­en­tif­ic illus­tra­tor. When Joyce explained how Becky cre­at­ed the amaz­ing time­line on the end­pa­pers of the book … well, there has to be a fair amount of genius in both the author and illus­tra­tor of this book.

As a read­er who is inter­est­ed in sci­ence but does­n’t have a deep back­ground in the sub­ject, the idea that 99% of the species once on earth have already dis­ap­peared is … aston­ish­ing. Many of the species that remain are … ubiq­ui­tous. They are every­where all the time.

I admire Joyce for think­ing to write a poem about bac­te­ria, the ear­li­est cel­lu­lar life­form. Bac­te­ria, mol­lusks, ants, squir­rels … all are ubiq­ui­tous … and Joyce has writ­ten poems in dif­fer­ing forms for each one. The poem about squir­rels will make you laugh out loud. Squir­rels are so … ubiq­ui­tous (I love say­ing that word) … that we all rec­og­nize their behav­ior. We get the joke.

Even bet­ter, the short para­graphs that explain why these life­forms are ubiq­ui­tous leave the read­er say­ing , “I did­n’t know that,” over and over again. Very satisfying.

Sci­ence geek or sci­ence wan­na-be, young child (it was good to hear your ideas, Milo) or grand­par­ent, every­one finds a rea­son to like this book.

(Watch the video under the Pic­ture Book category.)

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