Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman (again)

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before (well, except for the times I’ve gone on and on and on about how much my girls love all things Laura Ingalls Wilder), but I’m highlighting a book today that I’ve reviewed alreadyAlice’s RAT post last week reminded me of this book, and in a fit of “I’ve got to spend more time on my middle child’s education!”, I picked out some books with a common theme of seasons (also thanks to Alice) to read to her.  Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings from Treetops came home with us from the library, but it’s one I definitely want to add to our home library.

Can I just say that this book just about took my breath away when I read it earlier this week, I loved it so much?  Is that too gushy for a children’s poetry picture book?  No?  Good.  🙂  I’m pretty sure I grinned all the way through it.  I loved it the first time, sure, but something about sharing it with my detail-loving, artistic middle child was just pure goodness.  Sidman‘s metaphors are perfect, her rhymes pleasing but not predictable, and her rhythm and timing impeccable.  Here’s a word-picture I love:

Yellow slips goldfinches

their spring jackets.

Yellow shouts with light!

In spring,

Yellow and Purple hold hands.

They beam at each other

with bright velvet faces.

First flowers,

first friends.


Without the illustration, this isn’t quite as nice, although it’s still wonderful.  The illustration includes a border of flowers, you guessed it–pansies, in purple and yellow.   Isn’t that perfect?

I also love this one:

In the winter woods,

Gray and Brown

hold hands.

Their brilliant sisters–

Red, Orange, and Yellow

have all gone home.

Gray and Brown sway shyly,

the only beauties left.


Sharing the poems here isn’t quite as nice as reading them in the book, of course.  In addition to the beautiful, Caldecott honor award winning illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski, the text of the poems themselves are colorful.  Did you notice that each color word is colored?  (Of course you did!)  This positively embues every page with emotional warmth (even the pages that are about winter!) and light and joy.   The illustrations are whimsical and saturated and collage-y, just the style I love.  I could study this book for a long, long time.  In fact, I tasked Louise with the (enjoyable!) job of finding some element in the illustrations that is repeated, page after page after page.  I knew she was up to the task!  (I’ll let you find it for yourself–no spoilers here!)

 I also love Joyce Sidman‘s Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, winner of a 2011 Newbery honor.  I’d love to read more of her stuff, and as it turns out, there’s quite a bit of it

I give Red Sings from Treetops a Highly, Highly Recommended. (Houghton Mifflin, 2009)

Related Links:

Sampling of Pamela Zagarenski’s artwork at Seven Impossible Things

Interview with Pamela Zagarenski at Seven Impossible Things

Interview with Joyce Sidman at Seven Impossible Things

Joyce Sidman’s website

Poetry Friday is hosting this week by Tara at A Teaching Life.  I am also linking this book up for the Award Winning Books Challenge at Gathering Books.

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12 thoughts on “Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman (again)”

  1. The book does look marvelous. I love that winter poem where it says ‘Their brilliant sisters–Red, Orange, and Yellow–have all gone home.” How great is that! I will have to look this up to see it all. Thank you for all the talk about it, too, and the photo of your daughter-makes it all the more enjoyable.

  2. I have also fallen in love with Joyce Sidman when I read through her Songs of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems – have you read that one yet? Absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this one, as I haven’t read it yet. Will definitely look for this book in our library. BTW, our link-page for the AWB (award-winning-books) reading challenge for January is now up: – we’d love to have you post your link to this review in that page too. 🙂 we’re hoping to build a database of reviews on award winning books.

  3. If there was even ONE comment from a person who didn’t know this book or Joyce Sidman, then it was worth the repeat review! (Wait, review means view again…it doesn’t stipulate how many times!!)

  4. Do you know the classic poetry book about colors, Hailstones and Halibut Bones? I haven’t seen this one yet, but your description reminds me of Hailstones, a book that I love.

  5. Actually, this is new to me, too. Thank you for posting the two poems in their entirety and the reading-in-action photo. You just sold a book! (Maybe more than one after I track down the rest of Ms. Sidman’s work.) -Ed D.

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