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Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,767 ratings  ·  371 reviews
With original and spot-on perceptions, Joyce Sidman's poetry brings the colors of the seasons to life in a fresh light, combining the senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. In this Caldecott Honor book, illustrator Pam Zagarenski's interpretations go beyond the concrete, allowing us to not just see color, but feel it.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMoonshot by Brian FlocaRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
5th out of 60 books — 155 voters
Madeline by Ludwig BemelmansThe Stinky Cheese Man by Jon ScieszkaBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskeyDon't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo WillemsStone Soup by Marcia Brown
Caldecott Honor Books
40th out of 246 books — 156 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,748)
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I love this book! While primarily a collection of poetry about different facets of the seasons, there is also a continuity in both the poetry and the illustration which makes it a story. It is like a love song to the seasons and to all the treasures we find if we have eyes and hearts for nature. I love how the colors keep reappearing in different ways throughout the seasons. Poetry is so subjective and I admit that I am not always a fan of children's poetry books, but I think this is a true gem ...more
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 t ...more
Lisa Vegan
May 07, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who find joy in the seasons and in colors
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book is truly creative and unusual in a very good way. I admit it took me several pages to get used to the illustration of the person/queen? Then, I grew fond of all the illustrations.

So unique! While this is free form poetry story of the passing of the seasons honors the joys of each season, my favorite aspect was how the many colors written about were written in their color. This makes it terrific for teaching colors too, and not just the typical colors featured in “learn your colors” boo
"In Summer, White clinks in drinks. Yellow melts everything it touches... smells like butter, tastes like salt." In Red Sings From the Treetops, Joyce Sidman takes you on a beautiful journey of the seasons that stimulates the senses. You can almost feel the seasons as she describes them and await each color and how she'll relate it to the season.
I enjoyed reading this book to myself and was engaged by how Sidman describes the seasons using color. This is a great book for a read-aloud in grades
Francesca Forrest
What I loved especially was the recurrence of colors, their different incarnations in the different seasons. And the illustrations were arresting: crowns on people, birds and dogs--all beings are noble--and doors in trees, the sky--and writing here and there. Beautiful picture book. Many, many thanks to Ambrosia Rose for giving me this gift.
Joyce Sidman's award-winning book, Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors is a beautiful combination of free verse poetry and unique illustrations. Beginning in spring, Joyce personifies each color, bringing to life each of the four seasons. While red "whispers along my finger with little beetle feet" in summer, "red beats inside me...and glows in the strengthening sun" in winter. Alliteration and imagery combine to create a reading experience that compliments auditory and visual readers. Sid ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Ambrosia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ambrosia by: Christy Favorite
Shelves: favorites
When I was shopping for books for my goddaughter, and lamenting the mediocre quality of so many of the offerings, a friend of my mother's pointed me at this one. And I'm so glad she did.

Like many children's books, it's written in verse - but not the usual scansion-and-rhyme. Rather, it's done in free verse; not the "I was too lazy to make things rhyme so I'll just put some random line breaks in" sort, but with real thought and care put into the word selection, and with such effective use of rhyt
The writing from Joyce Sidman and the illustrations from Pamela Zagarenski perfectly connect colors to the four seasons. The descriptions draw you into the poems and the illustrations do a wonderful job of supporting them. This book begins with the red colors of spring with the “sprouts in rhubarb spears” and goes to the summer colors including purple in the sunsets. The next stop is fall when “orange ripens in full, heavy moons, thick with pulp and see”, and ends with winter where “white turns ...more
Natalia Ortega-Brown
April is Poetry month, so I'm happy start it with a beautiful poetry picture book. Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors is full of lovely imagery and poetic language. Through its pages, colors take on the seasons. Red sings from treetops during Spring, Yellow slips goldfinches their spring jackets. Blue grows new names in the summer: turquoise, azure, cerulean. White dazzles day and turns night inside out in the summer. Just beautiful! This is a book to be read slowly, over and over, all at ...more
Move through the seasons with the colors built into verses dedicated to a color and the season. Delight in the fact that spring is more than just green as Sidman weaves all of the colors into spring some in quite surprising and insightful ways. The whimsical paintings of Zagarenski also offer a complexity and uniqueness to the title. This is much more than spring being green and filled with flowers. Here spring is red with cardinals, white with lightning, blue sky, yellow goldfinches, and pink w ...more
Genre: Children’s Book, Poetry, Science


Aspects of each season are portrayed through poems that highlight the wildlife, weather, pivotal events, and occurrences. The colors that routinely occur throughout each season are also brought to the forefront in both the poetry and the text color.

The illustrations capture a magical world, filled with life and change. The artistic technique of mixed media gives added depth and texture, bringing a whimsical quality to the characters and animals. The
I wasn't sure how much I would really like this one from the book description. And I didn't immediately love it. But the more time I spent with each page, reading the text and then noticing all the fun details in the illustrations, I really started to love it! So I went back to the beginning and started over. This isn't a book to just read your way through and glance at the illustrations. This is a book to read and reread, to savor and enjoy, to read aloud, to pore over the illustrations and dis ...more
Ashley Gregory
Audience: 3rd-5th grade. I think boys and girls would enjoy this book. The way it is written would possibly go right over the heads of students younger than 3rd grade. However, if you were reading it for fun, the ideas of colors and seasons would work for younger than 3rd.

Award list: 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.

Appeal: The first time I read this book I read it too fast to really understand it. I found myself confused and not enjoying it. Then I reread it slower, stopping and thinking after each s
Author Joyce Sidman blends a journey through the seasons with whimsical color poems in Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors. Some of the comparisons are standard ("Green is new in spring.") and others have wings ("Green sighs with relief: I've ruled for so long. Time for Brown to take over."). It is the imaginings of color as objects with emotions and sound and movement that make this an ideal model text for teachig color poems. I am using it in exactly that capacity, though this should be ...more
I didn't love the poem, but it and the art worked really well together.
Nov 23, 2011 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful book of poems that describe the colors throughout the year as the seasons change. Very appropriate for our latitude (compared to when we lived in Hawaii!), this book shows how nature's colors wax and wane and change all year. The poems are short and the illustrations are colorful, with lots of patterns and textures. I love that the poems are so expressive and paint a word picture that children can really grasp and appreciate. I listened as our oldest read these poems aloud; w ...more
Alexa Rothman
I really enjoyed the book “Red Sings from Treetops: a year in colors” by Joyce Sidman because of the way that the book talked about the seasons. When I picked up this book, I was expecting something totally different than a book about colors and seasons. The author used colors to describe each season and used them in interesting ways that a child would not think about. What I thought was interesting was how she always highlighted the color in the actual color every time she used it. She also fo ...more
Personal Reaction- A wonderful poetry book that uses fun rhymes and patterns to explain the seasons in a unique way. I really enjoyed the vocabulary and imagery that the author uses. The pictures are awesome but the vocabulary lets your mind run wild.


This would be a good book 1st-4th grade I believe. The vocabulary is very fresh that makes the reader really understand how each season is different from one another and also gives great visual into how the seasons aren't only different by
Tina Andrade
Sidman, J. (2009). Red sings from treetops. Boston: Houghton Miffin.

-2010 Caldecott Honor Book
-2010 ALA Notable Children's Books, Younger Readers
-Booklist The Best of Editors' Choice 2009
-Bulletin Blue Ribbons 2009, Nonfiction
-2009 Horn Book Fanfare List


A fun to read book that makes the reader forget that poetry is not easily digested, as the words of colors and seasons come alive. Each sentence paints a vivid picture making it effortless to feel the colors and seasons as a living thing.
Bethany Mcguirk
Sidman, J. (2009). Red sings from treetops: A year in colors. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Picture Book Soak (one I really liked)

This picture book is essentially one long poem in which each season of the year is described through colors. I love the author’s word choices. Sidman uses such vivid description that you can easily visualize the season and its many associated colors seen in nature. Moreover, the color that is focused on in the text is emphasized in the accompanying illustra
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, by Joyce Sidman

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, this book was an amazing read, even the title itself illustrates just how deeply detailed this book is. Joyce Sidman does a fantastic job of capturing and showing the beauty of each and every season through color and does an even better job at making you feel like you are actually there, in that season, experiencing that moment. The season, where I live, is currently winter and I can honestly sa
Nancy Sanders
I love, love, love this book! What a tender, sweet and poetic portrayal of the seasons. It's so beautiful, I ached with joy as I read this book for the very first time. The art is joyful and fresh, just like a blossom in spring or a snowflake in winter. The words are poetic and rich, vibrant with color and meaning. This is a book to cherish yourself and read aloud to a child. A timeless treasure perfect for the classroom or when curled up next to the fireplace at home.
2010 Caldecott Honor Award

Summary: This picture book expresses the realities of seasons through colors, beginning with a red bird in the spring and finishing with it as winter concludes. It is a fanciful book that projects the magic of each season with unrhymed poetry and broad sweeps of color. The senses of sight, smell, sound, and taste are detailed in words and pictures.

Review: Illustrator Pamela Zagarenski shows instead of tells the story of seasons with mixed-media paintings that represent
Tammy J
Red sings from the treetops is a picture book that has a poetic feel to it. I love the illustrations and feel they are appealing to children. The author incorporates the text within the illustrations. The book is all about the seasons. The one aspect that I love is that when it states each color not only do they try to rhyme things that are of that color but they highlight the color with it's color. So the word red is the color red. In addition, some of the items that it describes makes you have ...more
While I enjoyed this as did my children, it wasn't as awe inspiring as some of Sidman's other science books such as Ubiquitous. However, the illustrations were beautiful and the poems were still good. We really enjoyed noticing which colors reappeared each season and which colors didn't appear in a particular season. My children were very surprised that pink was the first color featured in winter, but then we agreed that it fit:

In the WINTER dawn,
Pink blooms
Over pastel hills.

Pink pr
This 2010 Caldecott Honor Book would be most appropriate for students in Grades 2 -5. Younger children would enjoy the word choice and illustrations. Older children would also enjoy the illustrations, but also really appreciate the connections made between colors and seasons. Older children would be able to make their own connections between colors and seasons.
Angela Hutchinson

2010 Caldecott Honor Award
Claudia Lewis Poetry Award
Minnesota Book Award
Cybils Poetry Award
Horn Book Fanfare
Bulletin Blue Ribbon
Booklist Editor's Choice
CCBC Choices 2010
New York Public Library's "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"
ABC "Indie" Best Book
Junior Library Guild Selection

This would be a great book to use when introducing color words to the students. The reading level is around third grade, but would be a great read aloud for the younger children. This book is written in a poetry style
1. Genre and age: Fiction poetry picture book, ages 5-8

2. Summary: Colors come alive through the four seasons in this whimsical picture book.

3. Curriculum: The story would be a good review for young readers learning their seasons in class.

4. Reaction: The poetic-feel makes this picture book more than just illustrations and text alongside, but rather a new way to experience the seasons through all the senses. The author's use of a multitude of poetic devices brings each of the seasons to life. T
Audience: Both boys and girls, early readers

Appeal: Wonderful pictures tell the story right along with the words. All different colors are described throughout the seasons. Easy to read and fun to see the changing colors and seasons.

2010 Caldecott Honor Award
This book is for the age 4 and up. It can be for a girl or boy to read if they like the seasons and color. This book has bright pictures and demonstrates what happens to the seasons throughout the whole year step by step.

Caldecott 2010 honor award winner
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Joyce Sidman lives in Wayzata, Minnesota.
More about Joyce Sidman...
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