"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Friday, July 9, 2010

Red Sings From Treetops = So Dreamlike

I was going to write about Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, earlier this year, and it was pure laziness on my part that I didn't. I'm glad that it popped up on my Camp Read-a-Lot list, because this title deserves more attention. Personally, I love both the poetic language and the lovely artwork of this book. It is far more than a standard "let's learn our colors" title and thus has potential for a much wider audience.

Describing the arrival of colors in familiar things from spring through winter, Sidman lets you experience them through all of your senses. She explains spring white as sounding like storms, in the shape of lightning and hail, or smelling the same as flower petals. Summer yellow tastes like salt, fall wind feels black and winter pink blooms in the sky. A crowned person and a dog seem to glide through the pages, enjoying outdoor seasonal pleasures. This description gives you the jist of the book, but not the sensual flow of the words as she writes them. For that, you should read it for yourself. Please do.

Zagarenski's imaginative mixed media paintings on wood and computer illustrations are a perfect match for the text. Gorgeous layers of color fill each page. The sky can look like turquoise veined with gold like a stone in one drawing, then be swirled with white, grey and pale blue in another. A nest of slightly fuzzy pink hatchlings, each wearing its own gold crown, gape wide yellow and red beaks toward the sky.White moths fill and escape the sail on a boat. A huge grey whale pauses behind a stupendous and  pale full moon. Every spread shows interesting texture and pleasing detail.

Together, Sidman & Zagarenski have created a little world that feels like our own in its best moments. It's one that you, me, or your favorite child  might wish to visit often.

1 comment:

Auntie K said...

Sounds like a LOVELY book! I'm a huge fan of cardinals and imagine that's the red singing from the treetops. Wonderful imagery. Thanks for posting about it.