poetry friday

I have always been in love with colors – I especially like it if they shift, swirl, and swathe into difficult-sounding shades: aquamarine, crimson, boysenberry, burnt sienna. It is no wonder that I have fallen in love with Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors as illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, winner of the 2009 Poetry Category in Cybils.



I borrowed this book from the NIE Library as we celebrate Crazy Over Cybils until end of February. Poetry Friday is bound to be awesome this week with Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference hosting the festivities. Do head on over to her site to check out other luscious poems that are on spread today.


While I am familiar with Joyce Sidman’s verse, this is probably the first time that I have been thoroughly smitten by her words. Each line leaves an imprint, an echo of the seasons, laced in multi-colored shades and hues. Pamela Zagarenski does each dripping, crunchy, windswept line so much justice with a distinctive artwork that made me wonder where this illustrator has been all my life.


I love how the colors speak, taste, and touch the winds, the leaves, the gnarled branches – even the birds are not spared by the dancing splash of paints. The moods of the colors change with the seasons – just like a woman in love with her wave of emotions that are totally dependent on the fickle mind of the moon. Green can be “shy” in the spring, but “queen in summer.” I especially like how


Green is tired,


crisp around the edges.

While each page is a gift from summer and spring, winter and autumn, my absolute favorite is the stark contrast of Black and White in the fall, and as such is my Poetry Friday offering to you all, lovely friends:


In Fall,
the wind feels Black:
full of secrets.
Pup sniffs and sniffs,
reading its mysteries.
And there is White,
in dark branches.
It sings a song
of waxing and waning,
swims up
through its cool sky-pool.
Good night,

Teacher Resources. For educators who may wish to make use of this must-have-book in the classroom, here is a downloadable pdf file created by Junior Library Guild that includes activities such as alphabetic awareness, reading comprehension, literary response analysis, even a bulletin board extension that is printable in all its gorgeous designs and colors.

How about you, Poetry Friday friends, what is the color of your soul today?

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.


Caldecott Honor Book. Winner of 2009 Cybils Poetry.

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 7 of 35


R: Red Sings from Treetops

A-Z Reading Challenge Update: 10 of 26 (R, J, A, H, W, X, V, I, L, T)


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 14 of 150

16 comments on “Poetry Friday: A Splash of Reds, Purples, Greens – Red Sings from Treetops

  1. Magenta is the first color coming to mind today!

    Lovely post.


  2. *Swoon* First you feature All the World, and now Red Sings From Treetops! LOVE LOVE LOVE. Absolutely perfect in every way, isn’t it?


  3. Today I am orange…energized! Thank you for spotlighting Joyce Sidman’s poetry. She’s one of my favorite, favorites! Happy Friday! =)


  4. Lovely – and I can see why Fall is special to you, what a beautiful page!


  5. Love the concept of this book – helping kids make the intangible, tangible.


  6. Thank you for mentioning the PDF, Myra! I have downloaded it for later use. Red Sings is a great book for working on contrasting different pieces of text. As for color, I’m a fan of aubergine.


  7. Hi, Myra. I am definitely purple today. I added more purple highlight to my hair — getting ready for my Ravens’ appearance in the Super Bowl. The black/white poem shows how colors are not only visual images, but can also create a mood in a poem. Some colors like blue and yellow act as a sort of shorthand for emotions.


  8. Pamela Zagarenski’s work makes me think of Rebecca Dautremer (I featured her illustrations earlier this month: http://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/2013/01/rebecca-dautremer.html). Do you think they have anything in common? I think I am feeling copper today, with a little silver around the edges.


  9. The PDF looks good, & the poetry is great, Myra. I had forgotten this book; our library has it, thank goodness. My ‘color’ is red, which makes me think of fall, too, but Joyce’s poem is wonderful, & thought-provoking for that same season. Interesting how differently people see! Thank you!


  10. One of my FAVORITE poetry books. The writing and the art are just exquisite. (I was honored to write the feature on Joyce Sidman for the PACYA blog this month!)

    Re. color, I was going to say aubergine, like one of your previous visitors. Really. What are the chances, out of less than 10 comments, that two people would think “aubergine”?! Thanks for a wonderful post today!


  11. Myra, that sounds like another book to own. I bought Joyce Sidman’s ‘Dark Emperor’ for my grandson this Christmas and the more I see of her work, the more I admire it. Thanks for sharing these lovely bits!


  12. Thanks for highlighting this must-have book!


  13. You’ve sold me – I want this book!


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