Saturday, February 6, 2010

Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman

I am a big fan of This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness, the first collaboration between author Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski, so I was eager to get read Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Poems, their latest and 2010 Caldecott Honor book. Both books have similar illustrations – part painting and part collage – and I willingly admit, it’s personally a bit frustrating that my favorite of the two isn’t the one with the medal on the cover.

Adding to the illustrations in Red Sings from Treetops are the changes in text. The book starts in spring and progresses through the seasons highlighting the colors of each. Each color word is bold and printed in its own color. Some are highlighted to set them off from backgrounds of the same color.

Spring features red singing from treetops, the white of hail and lightning, and green everywhere. The yellow of the summer sun melt everything and numerous variations of blue describe water. Black describes summer nights. Brown takes over for tired green in fall when orange also arrives. Black and white take center stage in winter, but speckles of red, blue, and even green all make appearances to those who look hard enough. Teachers could certainly use Red Sings from Treetops when studying the seasons, and art teachers could have a field day looking for colors in all parts of life.

I have a healthy respect for poetry even if it isn't a personal favorite, but recommending Red Sings from Treetops is easy despite my literary preferences. The illustrations are deserving, and the text is a colorful walk through the year, especially for people who live in areas where all four seasons firmly stake claim to their own portion of the year.

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