Red Sings from Treetops

Red Sings from Treetops: a Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

Move through the seasons with the colors built into verses dedicated to a color and the season.  Delight in the fact that spring is more than just green as Sidman weaves all of the colors into spring some in quite surprising and insightful ways.  The whimsical paintings of Zagarenski also offer a complexity and uniqueness to the title.  This is much more than spring being green and filled with flowers.  Here spring is red with cardinals, white with lightning, blue sky, yellow goldfinches, and pink with baby birds.  Summer, autumn and winter follow each with all of the colors found and celebrated in different ways. 

Sidman’s poetry will pull the reader into the book, offering lovely moments such as the yellow of summer:

Yellow melts

everything it touches…

smells like butter,

tastes like salt.

Isn’t that summer captured in a color?  And that is just one color in one season.  The senses are involved in this color book, as is rhythm and a sense of the actual season itself.  It is a picture book that allows you to think of the colors you associate with a season, the unexpected, the small touches.  I can see this being used in an art class to inspire students to paint more than the usual colors for seasonal pieces as well as a very successful poetry picture book for use in general classes.

Appropriate for ages 5-8, this book will work best with time afterwards for discussion because it will have everyone buzzing with new ideas.

Urso Brunov and the White Emperor

Urso Brunov and the White Emperor by Brian Jacques, illustrated by Alexi Natchev.

This second Urso Brunov book continues the adventures of the Little Father of All Bears.  Urso Brunov is awoken by a call for help carried on the wind.  It is two young polar bears, a Prince and Princess who are lost and unable to return home after being carried away on an iceberg.  Urso Brunov is willing to help and uses his connections with other animals, all called by his bugle, to return the polar bears to their royal parents. 

The joy here is the skill of the writing by Jacques.  It has a folk tale quality and is written with such skill that it reads aloud with ease, flowing together into a seamless story that is equally effortless to listen to.  Natchev’s illustrations capture the animals and snowy landscape well.  They will project nicely to even a large group of listeners.

A great readaloud for slightly older audiences, this book is appropriate for 5-8 year olds.