Red Sings from Treetops

Common Sense Media says

Exquisite poetry and artwork will excite kids of all ages.




Caldecott Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this beautiful book of poetry will enrich any reader's life on so many levels. Its author won Caldecott Honors for her earlier book Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems as well as various awards for This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness.

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Kids say

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What's the story?

An angular character in a crown and robes strolls through the seasons with her (his?) dog, also wearing a crown. Through spring to summer to fall and winter, they interact with the world around them, noting the changing shades, and roles, of colors as they go. Poetry and artwork combine to tell their story.

Is it any good?


This book is exquisite, with poetry and artwork that individually are absolutely amazing. Taken together, the result is even more unbelievable. Colors and seasons have never seemed so interconnected and vibrant. But nothing here really hits you over the head. The message is subtle, creative, and full of song.

Joyce Sidman's poetry is the real deal, not the sing-song kind of rhyme that is sometimes dished out to kids. And Pamela Zagarensi's artwork is clever, alive, intricate, and innovative. This is a perfect pairing, and a unique and beautiful book to keep on your picture book bookshelf forever.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the poems. They'll enjoy reading the poems aloud, and finding the reds, yellows, blues, greens (and other colors) of spring, summer, fall, and winter in words and pictures. How does each poem use both color and the senses to describe each season? For example, in spring red sings, in summer it darts, jags, whispers along fingers, and so on.

  • Can you find the colors in the playful artwork? How do the pictures fit

  • with the poems? 

  • Can you create any color poems of your own?

Book details

Author:Joyce Sidman
Illustrator:Pamela Zagarenski
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:April 6, 2009
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4
Read alone:8
Award:Caldecott Medal and Honors

This review of Red Sings from Treetops was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6, 7, and 18 year old Written byGypsyBelle September 26, 2013

Education through poetry and color

color comparison, poetry, seasons. It also let's our children practice critical thinking when we pause and ask them to figure out what the author means when she says a color behaves in a particular way. They figure out that it was worms or ice cubes! It is a mystery and beautiful! One of our favorite books; right up there with The Giving Tree.
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