Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
What can I say about this book but lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely and oh yes, lovely. Taking us through all the seasons in colors, these short poems by Joyce Sidman pack a velvet-covered punch, while Pamela Zagarenski’s illustrations invite long-lingering looks and sighs. Truly, I want to live in the world that Zagarenski sees and sink into the descriptions of Sidman’s words:
In SPRING,For today’s three highlighted books, I wanted to include another title from this dynamic duo — This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness — a book that rocked my world with its deft and deep understanding of human nature. It makes me cry. And now I’ve squeezed in a mention, so HAH! Try to fence me in, Thursday Three format that I invented.
each note dropping
like a cherry
into my ear.
Speak To Me (And I Will Listen Between The Lines)
by Karen English, illustrated by Amy Bates
I bring up this book a lot, I know, but it really sticks with me. I don’t know that I can verify that it captures the feel of an urban school — though it sure seems that way — but I do know that it really captures the feelings of third graders. Feeling pride in an eighth birthday. Worrying about losing a best friend to another girl in the class. Daydreaming. Saving a seat at lunch. Each poem is told from the point of view of one of the kids in the class, most of whom are African American. The illustrations capture the feel of the kids and the poems in every nuance of expression. A perfect classroom book, for sure, but also a wonderful book to share at home.
If Not for the Cat
by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Ted Rand
The title begs to be finished, so here is the poem of the mouse:
“If not for the cat, And the scarcity of cheese, I could be content.” Every time I reference this book, I have to double-check that the poet is indeed Prelutsky because it doesn’t fit with the sillier style I’ve come to associate with him. But yes, it’s him crafting these perfect poems about seventeen different animals. The poems are accessible for children, but take some thought too — along with offering some challenging, evocative words. The illustrations are beautiful, with a great use of detail and color to support the haiku. Purists will note that it isn’t true haiku as they don’t all feature the requisite seventeen syllables, but I don’t feel the need to split hairs with someone who thinks to describe jellyfish moving “gelatinously.” Brilliant stuff, this.
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.