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Richie's Picks: UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE'S SURVIVORS

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  • BudNotBuddy@aol.com
    Richie s Picks: UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE S SURVIVORS by Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange, ill. Houghton Mifflin, April 2010, 40p., ISBN:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2010
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      Richie's Picks: UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE'S SURVIVORS by Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange, ill. Houghton Mifflin, April 2010, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-618-71719-4
       

      "The Ants

       

      The ants, the ants

      on tips of plants,

      on sticks, on stones,

      on ice cream cones,

       

      beneath the ground

      they ebb and flow,

      precisely know

      who's friend, who's foe.

       

      They dig, they climb,

      they drag, they haul

      (they never seem

      to play at all).

       

      At obstacles

      thrown in their path

      they laugh! (Well, really,

      ants don't laugh:

       

      they just speed up

      their antlike flow

      and find a different

      way to go.)

       

      But when a gang

      attacks their nest?

      They beat their legs

      against their chests,

       

      they snap their

      giant mandibles,

      and drive them out

      with great success.

       

      And then, after

      the fight has quit,

      they go back home

      to baby-sit."

       
      UBIQUITOUS by Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange is the most exciting book I encountered last month at ALA in Boston.  I've just had my own book published -- a guide on sharing poetry with children and young adults -- and UBIQUITOUS is a verbal and visual delight that points to the bright future of poetry in the classroom and across the curriculum.
       
      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?  
       
      "The Lichen We
      (after Siegfried Sassoon's 'Man and Dog')
       
      Who's this -- alone with stone and sea?
      It's just the lowly Lichen We:
      the alga I, the fungus me;
      together, blooming quietly.
       
      What do we share -- we two together?
      A brave indifference to the weather.
      A slow but steady growing pace.
      Resemblance to both mud and lace.
       
      As we are now, so we shall be
      (if air is clear and water free):
      the proud but lowly Lichen We,
      cemented for eternity."
       
      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. 
       
      Richie Partington, MLIS
      Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
      I Second That Emotion: Sharing Children's and Young Adult Poetry, a 21st Century Resource Guide for Teachers and Librarians
      Now available online from LMC Source
       

      FTC NOTICE: Richie receives free books from lots of publishers who hope he will Pick their books.  You can figure that any review was written after reading and dog-earring a free copy received.  Richie retains these review copies for his rereading pleasure and for use in his booktalks at schools and libraries.
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