Perfect Picture Book Friday – Red Sings from the Treetops

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Red Sings from Treetops – a year in colors

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2009

Ages: 4-8

Themes: colors, seasons, poetry

Honors/Awards Received: 
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

Opening lines and Synopsis:


Red sings

from treetops:


each note dropping

like a cherry

into my ear.”

A character in a crown and robes, which puts me in mind of a jester, walks through the seasons with her dog, also wearing a crown. Through spring to summer to fall and winter, they interact with nature, experiencing the changing shades, and roles, of colors as they go. The award winning poetry and artwork marry to tell their story.

Why I like this book: 

The poetry in this children’s book is of a superb, sensorial, subtle quality that melts in my mouth as I narrate. It blends beautifully with artwork of shades and hues reaching from vibrant to mellow portraying the wonder and and yet homeyness of nature. No surprise that the list of awards is long. There is also a timeless element to our central character which adds a sense of awe and mystery to the book for me. This is a delightful sensorial walk for children and adults through a year of seasons and colors. The poetry is so special, I have just have to give you another taster.

“Fall smells


old leaves, crushed berries,

squishy plums with worms in them.

Purple: the smell of all things

mixed together”

Can’t you just taste and smell and feel this text?


Claudia Lewis Poetry Award Teaching Toolbox contains before and after activities and extensive further links and lesson plans.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

This is also part of Gathering Book’s 2012 Award Winning Books Reading Challenge. 

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33 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – Red Sings from the Treetops

  1. That looks lovely! I just want to jump inside and play in the wind. Putting this one on my list.

  2. Tracy Bermeo says:

    I love the introduction of colors to the seasons! I’ll often stop doing whatever is is I’m doing with the kids to take a minute and look at colors, clouds, leaves, and the sunset. I think I need to add this book to my library list!
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

    • Joanna says:

      I think it is so important to take time to experiences the seasons, surroundings, colors etc in our lives.

  3. What a beautiful intrroduction. I like quiet, contemplative books for children about the changing seasons. It certainly has won a lot of awards. I haven’t given my granddaughter many poetry books, but think I should add this one. Love your choice. It is so rich!

  4. What a delicious, delightful sounding book! The imagery contained in those words is so evocative, in a fun, easily-accessed way. Thank you for sharing that extra excerpt. And WOW, what a wonderful array of awards!

  5. Beautiful cover art! I love poetry too!

  6. The artist has a great feeling for color!

  7. Nice selection. I like this book too.

  8. I love this! It reminds me of a blog post I have done very early last year, on my blog. I had thought of bringing it to the Children’s Hub, “Colour only my Soul Understands” a writing prompt.
    Love how it makes you use your imagination.

  9. I love the lines from the book! I think they are great! I like how the dog is wearing a crown. 🙂

  10. sounds delightful. like the imagery of the words. thanks for sharing.

  11. Barb Leyne says:

    That looks like a beautiful book! I’m going to get it for my classroom. Thanks!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

  12. This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I loved this book, too! You did a wonderful job on the review. I’m thrilled it’s on the list.

  14. Love, love, LOVE this book! Thanks for the new resources!

  15. Hi, Joanna. The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous. And what a list of awards! I am definitely going to go see if our library has this book. The poetry–and your descriptions of it–also sound lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  16. This book sounds positively yummy! Thanks Joanna.

  17. Leslie Rose says:

    I am in love with the cover and purple the smell of all things mixed together. So true.

  18. WOW! What a line-up of awards…this is definitely a must-read book…sounds like a perfect choice for read-aloud to a group of eager little listeners. 🙂 Thanks for the resource list, Joanna…great choice!

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