Name of Book: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Pamela Zagarenski
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Audience: Ages 2-5. Because this book is divided into 4 separate poems, for younger children only a portion of the book could be read at a time.
Summary: This children’s book is comprised of 4 poems, each about a different season of the year. Its focus is on the colors you see in nature throughout the year and how they change in each season. The author’s choice of words and the illustrator’s beautiful images give wonderful illustrations of colors most children can see and experience in their world each day.
Literary Elements at Work in the Story: The author’s poems are very sensory focused and encourage children to experience color in new ways, through more than just their eyes. For example, red can taste crunchy like apples and in the fall purple is “the smell of all things mixed together.” Because of this multi-sensory emphasis, the book lends itself easily to many accompanying activities involving the senses.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? This book is gender and race neutral. However the geographical location, culture and economic background of the children may mean some of the experiences described by the author would be unfamiliar to certain groups of children (winter snow to kids in warmer climates or the changing fall leaves to children in the inner city). But this could be occasion for exploration!
Theological Conversation: The beauty of creation is a gift from God! The colors, sounds, smells, and tastes of nature invite us to explore and celebrate all that God has done and to see ourselves as part of that miracle and gift. This book offers a wonderful way to do just that. It would work very well in a unit focused on the creation story in Genesis, possibly as an extension of that story, a way to look with greater detail at the waters, the sky, the earth, etc.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What are some of the colors the author showed us in this book?
- Did any of the colors smell/taste/sound in a particular way? Which ones?
- What is your favorite season of the year and why?
- When you go outside and look around (actually going outside would be great!), what is your favorite thing that God made for you to enjoy?
- Activity: Explore the tastes, smells, feels of different colors. Eat crunchy red apples, squish brown mud between your toes, feel the warmth of a glowing orange jack-o-lantern.
- Activity: After reading this book and the creation story in scripture, make your own classroom book thanking God for the children’s favorite colorful things they see in their world. Each child could write and illustrate their own page.
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Megan Argabrite.