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Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,977 ratings  ·  524 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. ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  2,977 ratings  ·  524 reviews

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Lovely poetry about the colors and changes in the seasons. I love the play of colors with emotions. The art work is worthy, it just doesn't do a whole lot for me. Joyce goes through the seasons picking out colors. For winter, a page states grey and brown are all that's left. Very true. She also talks about the trees being black and looking like skeletal bones.

I thought it was good. I enjoyed the verse and it didn't sweep me up and away either. I read this to the kids and the niece gave it 2 sta
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who find joy in the seasons and in colors
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) 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
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
On a purely and utterly textual level, I have absolutely adored the both colourful and oh so esoterically, sweetly preceptive seasonally inspired poetry, the lyrical nature verses author Joyce Sidman presents in Red Sings From Treetops. The words used, featured, they to and for me so totally and completely capture and distill what the four seasons, what spring, summer, autumn and winter represent and mean (they are lively, sweet, and yes, glowingly shining with exquisitely colourfully hued grace ...more
It's official. I'm falling in love with children's poetry. This book is wonderful. I am now inspired to read all the Caldecott books. I know I won't love them all, but this is a gem and I hope I will discover more. ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Who Appreciate Beautiful Picture-Book Art / Young Poetry Lovers
Poet Joyce Sidman and artist Pamela Zagarenski, who previously collaborated on 2007's This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness , joined forces once again in this lovely picture-book, which was chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 2010. An exploration of the seasons, and the colors that weave through them - the new, "shy" green of spring, the "humming, shimmering, snoozing" blue of summer, the "fat and glossy" brown of fall, the "powder-soft" pink of winter - it boasts gorgeous mix ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 out of 5

Joyce Sidman's free verse about the colors of the seasons is unique, incredibly evocative, and delightfully perceptive. Here are a few of my favorite lines from each season:
Red sings
from treetops:
each note dropping
like a cherry
into my ear."

"And here,
in secret places,
peeps Pink:
the color of

White clinks in drinks.

Yellow melts
everything it touches...
smells like butter,
tastes like salt."

Green is tired,
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
I didn't love the poem, but it and the art worked really well together. ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
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
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"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
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I wanted to give this 5 stars, but I just didn't like the illustrations-- and this one was a Caldecott honor book! What were those wheels under the woman's and the dog's feet? Why was the woman always wearing a crown, and sometimes the dog too? Nevertheless, the text by Sidman was absolutely beautiful, describing the colors during the different seasons. It reminded me of Mary O'Neill's Hailstones and Halibut Bones. In fact, the two would pair nicely. Recommended, despite the peculiar illustratio ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Other poets and illustrators have done seasonal books, but this one is especially nice. While the words celebrate the different colors prominent in each of the seasons, Zagarenski's mixed media paintings on wood and computer illustration use a lot of geometrical shapes: round suns and moons; triangular clothing and tri-corn hats; square buildings; crescent parasols; diamond kites; etc. They also highlight the colors related in the poems. I really liked the painting of a frog climbing up a screen ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into it, am personally not charmed by this. The concept is fine, but the art is (to me) unappealing, and everything is so small and crowded that I just can't see any part of it (or even feel the gestalt). And I get a headache trying to read the words.

I did find this bit: "In the winter woods... gray and brown sway shyly, the only beauties left."

Still, I adore Sidman's science books and will keep reading her works, even when illustrated in styles I would not choose.
Francesca Forrest
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Jenna Dif
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Red Sings from Treetops is a phenomenal children's poetry book that is essentially describing the seasons and weather using the colors it is illustrating and discussing. The author personifies the colors and uses phrases such as, "blue breathes, blue smiles, etc." This would definitely be used in the lower elementary grades of K-2, and could also be used in Pre-K as well. It is a pleasant and fun book that has beautiful illustrations having to do with the seasons being discussed, so students get ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Suggested Grade Levels: 1st-5th grade.
Genre: Picture Book in Poetic Form
Themes: Colors of the Seasons
Awards: 2010 Caldecott Honor, 2010 White Ravens Award, 2010 Claudia Lewis Award and many more.

This is a true poetry delight for both young and old readers alike. It is a picture book done in poetic form describing the seasons through colors. Joyce Sidman does an exquisite job of creating familiar images for the reader using intricate word choice. Readers can see, hear and feel the seasons right a
Vikki VanSickle
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pamela Zagarenski’s art is vibrant and surprising. She has a playful, very European style. Every time I open the book, something new pops out at me in the illustrations. Her work captures the essence of Joyce Sidman’s loving and original ode to both seasons and colours. I have read a lot of poetry, and what makes Sidman stand out from the rest is the fresh and surprising imagery she conjures with her pristine and thoughtful word choice. I’m still mooning over this image:

In the winter woods,

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
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Erika Bowen
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1. This book is a Caldecott Honor Book. Instead of many different poems, it is one big poem broken into different sections. This book brings to life the colors of the year using the senses. Colors are seen on every page as well as felt.
2. Grades PreK-2, Ages 4-8
3. This book is an excellent tool in teaching colors and seasons. Colors are everywhere, but sometimes you see more colors in different seasons.
4. Students who might need extra help in learning their colors could really benefit from this
Madison Miller
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this story, the author brings life to colors and the different seasons they are a part of. She does an amazing job at incorporating the colors and seasons and combining them with the senses of smell, sight, sound, and taste. It is like a love song to the seasons and the amazing things that come with each season. The poetic language in this book is truly beautiful, and would be a great poetry book to use in classrooms, especially with younger readers. This will also help young readers get a gr ...more
Ashley Gregory
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Cassandra Lemieux
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summaries
1. Summary: This book has all the different seasons, and for each season their is a poem. The poems talk about the colors that represent the seasons and how it changes throughout the year.
2. grade: k-1
3. Classroom use: I would like to use this book when going over the different season. I would let each students pick a season and then create a picture that represents that season.
4. Students who may benefit: Students who enjoy poetry and really great pictures would love this book.
5. Small group us
Alyssa Stanley
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: week-7-poetry
Poetry- A Year in Colors Picture Book

After checking this book out from the library and reading it, I decided to read it to my class. They illustrations, the colors, the imagery, and seasons really drew the students into the reading. We had a lot of stopping points to discuss the different vocabulary they used and how that rich vocabulary really helped them as readers picture the scene. I would say this book could be introduced as early as Kindergarten and up depending on the purpose. It would be
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Colorful collage paintings helped Joyce Sidman win ALA Notable Book and Caldecott Honor Book awards for this whimsical book of poetry. Several curriculum applications: poetry (including poetic language like rhyme, repetition, alliteration), seasons, colors, vocabulary (turquoise, azure, cerulean). Sidman makes some subtle observations:
"Purple pours
into summer evenings
one shadow at a time,
so slowly
I don't notice until
book in my hand,
and Pup's brown spots
are all purple."

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The Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman is today's foremost nature poet for children. Accolades for her books include two Caldecott Honors, a Lee Bennet Hopkins Award, winner of the Claudia Lews Award, and many stars and best of lists. For her award-winning body of work, she won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. Visit ...more

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