Sidman, Joyce. 2009. RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A YEAR IN COLORS. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780547014944 [Suggested Grade Levels K - 3]
Poet Joyce Sidman once again delights – this time with short poems about colors found in nature throughout the year. The poems interact with illustrator Zagarenski’s lush paintings as in the picture of baby birds in a nest, mouths wide: “And here, / in secret places, / peeps Pink: / hairless, featherless, / the color of / new/ things.” Succinct yet beautifully stated. Colors are block-highlighted in the text of each poem and the colors featured are not of immediately obvious embodiments. Page headings alert the change in seasons. In a double-page spread for winter, the left page is pale pink and the right is pale blue. Zagarenski’s androgynous character is dressed in red and green with pink nose and fingers: “In the WINTER dawn, / Pink blooms / powder-soft / over pastel hills. / Pink prickles: / warm fingers / against cold cheeks.” Not only do we see pink, we also feel it.
Zagarenski’s paintings are stunning. Her stylized folk art vividly explores color in a whimsical interplay with Sidman’s poems. The flashes of color, the layers of texture, and the quirky characters all work together to inspire a love of the natural world and to underscore the intimate relationship with the poems.
Before reading the poems aloud, show the pictures to children and ask them to write short poems based on what they see, hear, feel, or taste.
Books by the same author:
Sidman, Joyce. BUTTERFLY EYES AND OTHER SECRETS OF THE MEADOW. ISBN 978061856135
Sidman, Joyce. SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN & OTHER POND POEMS. ISBN 9780618135479
By Cay Geisle