Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange is quite engaging and difficult to categorize.  Or, perhaps, this book is engaging BECAUSE it is hard to categorize.  Whatever it is, I like it.

Sidman's poems laud the thriving world of "survivors" that populate the world.  Ranging from the microscopic bacteria and diatoms to the larger sharks, from plants and animals as well as humans, these poems and the accompanying non-fiction texts enlighten readers as to how and why these various living things are worth paying attention to.  The illustrations by Prange deepen our senses of these creatures and plans and enable us to think about them in a more sophisticated fashion.

The only quibbles I have (and they are quibbles) are few.  First, it isn't clear exactly where the non-fiction parts of the book come from.  The poetry is directly attributed to Sidman.  Her author's note suggests that she has written the prose parts as well, given the lists of people and texts that she has consulted.  But it would be nicer if it were clearly stated.  My second quibble is over the the timeline.  I can understand that the time to be covered is vast, and therefore the line needs to express that creatively.  But the way the scale is depicted at the bottom of the page doesn't make clear whether it is measuring the LINE length or the PAGE width.  I assume the line, but I'm not sure if children would automatically grasp that idea or not.

But as I said these are mere quibbles.  This book provides a lovely overview for the opposite end of the spectrum from endangered animals. Here students can learn just how full of teeming life our planet is, and just how "ubiquitous" some of us are.