Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors – Joyce Sidman

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing about this book really struck me despite the fact that I wanted to love a poetic book about the seasons. Although I found the artwork to be cute at times, overall I just wasn’t a big fan of it and I think that did not help my enjoyment of the poetry. I always tried to keep the idea of ‘would a child enjoy this?’ in the back of my mind and I think that’s what made me struggle with it. Overall, the book just felt too adult to me. It feels more like a poem that was written and then they decided it might make an interesting, informative children’s book about colors and the seasons – rather than being written with children’s interests and needs in mind.

It was clear that the author was trying to engage the senses “In SUMMER, White clinks in drinks. Yellow melts everything it touches… smells like butter, tastes like salt” and does a wonderful job at it. Each season and color fills you up with the sights and sounds, the taste and touch, although you’re not really surrounded by the smells as the only odd line about that sense was “Purple: the smell of all things mixed together” and one other time it is brought up when the dog sniffs, but nothing is described.

Some of the lines will appeal to children because of their rhythmic and rhyming flow, like “Green trills from trees, clings to Pup’s knees, covers all with leaves, leave, leaves!”. It wasn’t always so rhythmic though and I wish that it was, because I feel like it could have been a fantastic example of poetry for me and it wasn’t – but that’s just my personal reaction to it. Horning (2010) wrote how important it was to “use musical, rhythmic patterns” to “delight small children” and as they age “they are better able to appreciate the subtleties of poetic form and content, but young children seem to be especially attracted to the regular structured patterns, more aptly called verse” (p. 69). It is lines like that that reinforce for me that this poetry felt too adult for the ‘Ej’ label that I see on its side.

Two read-alikes that I would recommend are All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon because it is also a celebration of the world around you and The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger because of the art style and poetic approach to the seasons (in this case, fall).

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