Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book #148: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

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Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Award, this collection of poems is organized by season, beginning with spring and ending with winter. Each poem focuses on the ways that colors interact with the world or with each other. The non-rhyming poems are filled with evocative imagery:

Green is tired,
crisp around the edges.”

The illustrations, a combination of mixed media on wood and digital techniques, sweep the reader along from season to season, following a triangular fellow sporting a crown and accompanied by his spotted dog as they explore a textured landscape of found papers, brush strokes, and patterns. The color palate is based in earth tones and subtly changes to convey each season.

Read selected poems for a storytime about colors in general. It would be nice to pair poems with books such as, My Many Colored Days or Planting a Rainbow. Pull individual poems to be read aloud at a storytime about a specific color, pairing them with books books like, Green and Red is Best. Try this writing activity suggested by Dr. Sylvia Vardell. Paint each side of a cube a different color and have children write poems to paste to each side.

Similarly, you could pull certain poems to be used with a storytime about one of the four seasons. If you have elementary school aged kids, pair poems from this book with poems from Betsy Franco’s Mathematickles. You could even turn this into a poetry reading performance. Alternate between poems from each book or interweave them together for a multilayered reading. Dr. Vardell suggests having children wear clothes the same color as the poem they read.

Sidman provides a wonderful reader’s guide on her website. I especially like the suggested writing activities. Encourage your kids to send their poems to Sidman because she publishes a page of poems by children on her website. If you’re looking for more activities, check out the Junior LibraryLeague reader’s guide, which includes quite a few printables. 


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