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Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (Sidman, Joyce) Hardcover – April 6, 2009

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Jan Brett brings an original twist to a favorite folktale. Snow covers the farm as badgers and friends in old-fashioned clothes, and bears marching through bright-colored borders, send young readers laughing from page to page. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The changing seasons have been the subject of many a picture book, but this one has a particularly unique take on the topic. Each season is explored in terms of how it encompasses colors. In the spring, “Red sings / from treetops . . . / each note dropping / like a cherry / into my ear.” Green “peeks from buds,” and yellow “slips goldfinches their spring jackets.” Succeeding seasons offer other opportunities for the colors to spread their particular magic. In summer, “white clinks in drinks.” The blue in water takes on many names: “turquoise, azure, cerulean.” Sidman also brings other senses to the fore. Old leaves and crushed berries smell purple. And though one might not associate pink with winter, it “prickles: / warm fingers / against cold cheeks.” All of these evocative images are matched in the imaginative illustrations. Stylized figures, intricately costumed and crowned, walk, run, and sail through Zagarenski’s artwork. You’ll find one in a tree picking juicy red apples and another set against an expanse of white, building a snowman. Throughout, the mixed-media illustrations, including collage and paintings on wood, provide much to look at. And as the title implies, the colors that surprise on every page do sing. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper


A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book

"It's wonderfully strange to read of colors with sounds, smells and tastes."--New York Times Book Review

"A charming inspiration to notice colors and correlate emotions"--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This book has a freshness and visual impact all its own, and it will inspire a rainbow of uses."--The Bulletin, starred review

"Sustaining the playfulness of the text and its sense of awe, mystery, and beauty, the illustrations contribute gracefully to the celebration."--Horn Book, starred review

"As the title implies, the colors that surprise on every page, do sing."--Booklist, starred review


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Sidman, Joyce
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547014945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547014944
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joyce Sidman is known for her fresh, inventive poetry for children. Her award-winning books include Dark Emperor (A Newbery Honor Book), Song of the Water Boatman and Red Sings from Treetops (both Caldecott Honor Books), Butterfly Eyes (Cybils Award), and This Is Just to Say (Claudia Lewis Poetry Award). A recent starred review in School Library Journal said, "Sidman's ear is keen, capturing many voices. Her skill as a poet accessible to young people is unmatched." Born in Connecticut, Joyce now lives in Minnesota. Visit her at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nicola on April 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have been inspired by Joyce Sidman to get back to what I love doing best - reading brilliant children's literature and raving about it to any unfortunate who happens to bother to read it.
There are a lot of poems about color out there and I am sure that practically any elementary-aged child in the English-speaking world has had to write one. It's pretty easy and has a low-risk level (unlike my cat - long story). However, like most things that are pretty easy to do, they are really hard to do well.
I have spent many an early morning and late evening in my yard trying to think of an opening line for a poem about a cardinal. When you live in the northern regions of this fair land, the sight of a cardinal's scarlet plumage against eye-searing-white snow is sometimes the only hope you have that the world is still turning and you're not stuck in this frozen wasteland forever. Don't get me wrong, winter is beautiful when it first comes and everything is clean white,
"White dazzles day
and turns night
inside out."
But, at a certain point, you need to see green.
Luckily for me, Sidman knows this, too and she comes endowed with the magic touch with words. It's like she got inside my heart - because, truly, that's where poetry germinates - and translated it in to these beautiful poems - because, truly, that's what the poets you love do.
"And Red?
Red beats inside me:
Sidman is frugal but never meagre with her words. They take on the exact shape, smell, and feel of the season's passing colors. The verses are short but complete and leave pleanty of room for the stunning art work of Zagarenski. Verse and picture blend seamlessly together.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By mama reads on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our family loves books. We've been unable to return this one to the library without buying a copy for ourselves. When my 2.5 yr old daughter recites,
each note drops
like a cherry
her tremendous joy is reason enough to recommend this book to anyone who loves words, loves colors and appreciates the seasons.

The lush illustrations are worthy of a book that speaks in color--a delight!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a child I had many favorite books and it was only when I got older that they crystallized in my brain enough so that I could chose a "favorite". But if you asked me today what book I loved more than any other, I don't think I'd be too off-base when I said it was Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep. Now there are a couple of reasons for this. I liked how she drew cupcakes, I liked the corgis, and I particularly liked the idea of kids running around playing games and pranks each month. But the thing that stuck with me, and continues to stick with me after all these years, was the feeling I got when I read that book. It was my first encounter with the evocative and I've never quite forgotten it. It's something I like to keep a lookout for when I read picture books today. Generally, I don't quite find it, but once in a great while there's a book that hits all the right chords. This year, that book would have to be Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors. A follow-up of sorts to Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski's This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness, Sidman and Zagarenski do what they can to conjure up what seasonal change feels like. It's nothing like their previous book, and everything you'd want in a poetry collection.

If you're going to write poems about the seasons, it's good to find a way to do so. Why not use colors then? Poet Joyce Sidman takes on the challenge, describing each season with a series of six or so poems, sometimes using the colors you'd expect (green for spring, of course) and sometimes using colors you wouldn't normally consider (gray for summer).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Colors dance through the seasons, from spring to winter and back again, following the red cardinal's "cheer," and presence throughout the year. Told in seasonal poems, the greens of spring, the blues of summer, the oranges and blacks of fall and the whites of winter, burst forth onto the pages, with painted and mixed media illustrations. The lyrical lines of color let the reader look at the beauty of four seasons. Children ages 5-8 will sing song with these poems of the year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By shepuppy on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the sweetest book! I bought it for my son who is one year old, he's still a bit young to fully understand but he loves the pictures. The art is folksy and funky in a "found art" meets "scrapbooking" sort of way. The pictures make you want to create your own collages of words and shapes and colors. The poetry is simply delicious! Each page is full of inspiring and colorful poems about the seasons. This book is bound to show children the power and playfulness of words, and reveal the splendor and subtleties of the natural world using all the senses. The language is earthy, simple and onomatopaeiaic. Here is an example: "Fall smells PURPLE: old leaves, crushed berries, squishy plums with worms in them. PURPLE: the smell of all things mixed together." My favorite poem is this one about Springtime and the color Pink: "And here, in secret places, peeps PINK: hairless, featherless, the color of new things."
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