Joyce Sidman's Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
I firmly believe that children are our finest poets.
For one thing, they've not yet been trained to make conventional associations.
Ask an adult what dinner and a drive to the park have in common, and you're likely to be looked at like you're nuts. Whereas your toddler knows...
Both activities can involve someone locking you into your seat!
Limited, specialized vocabularies make for a lot of poetry too. What do the moon and snow have in common???
They're both white.
Child poet Joyce Sidman focuses on color in this wonderful book about the various times of year. The text substitutes colors for nouns and gives us a whole different (childlike?) way of looking at the world and the passing seasons.
What object do you think Sidman is writing about here?
Orange ripens in
full, heavy moons,
thick with pulp and seed.
all smoke and candles.
(Did you guess pumpkin? You're right!)
Sidman has the perfect collaborator in illustrator Zagarenski, who earned a 2010 Caldecott Honor for her mixed media paintings on wood (with a little additional help from her computer) for this book.
Her images are filled with pattern (see more below) and, of course, color, and in most cases feature a woman wearing a crown, along with her dog (also wearing a crown).
They revel in the natural world around them.
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors is a book about observation, about absorbing - not ignoring - one's surroundings. It's the perfect book to help children retain - and adults regain - their sense of poetry.
More Caldecott reviews.
More poetry picture books.
More books about the seasons.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.