Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors

Written By: Joyce Sidman

Illustrated By: Pamela Zagarenski

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations 

Take a moment with your child to peruse the cover and illustrations before you begin your read-through. Let him/her make any initial comments that come to mind and ask questions like these to elicit observations and predictions about the story:

What do you notice on the cover?

What could the author mean when when she says “Red Sings from Treetops”? How can red sing?

What’s your favorite season? Why? What colors do you think of when you think of that season?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

As You Read

Joyce Sidman uses different things in nature to exhibit all of the various colors of the seasons. Help your child extract each element that the author describes in the story by asking questions as you go along. For example, when you are reading about the red that “splashes fall trees…”in the fall, ask, “What do you see in this picture? What do you think the author is describing when she says that?” Also, the red bird that is described on the first page persists throughout the story, showing up in most of the illustrations. Let your child find the bird on each page and ask what s/he thinks that means by asking, “Why do you think the bird is in all of these pages? Maybe it’s because…”

Vocabulary Building:

Inspire vocabulary acquisition by encouraging your child to pause the read-through when s/he comes across a new word in the story. Allow him/her to discover the meaning using the words and illustrations surrounding it. Examples of new words in Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors are:




Making Connections:

As you discuss each season and its different characteristics, help your child recall any fond memories or activities from each season. Ask, “What do you like to do during the fall? Can you think of a time when we went apple picking/jumped in a pile of raked leaves/etc?

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:  

Allow your child to make any concluding comments or observations and ask questions like these to gauge his/her understanding of the story:

Why does the main character like the color red?

What colors did we see for winter? Spring? Summer? Fall? What things did those colors describe?

What does it mean to feel a color? What colors do you see or feel during this season? I feel the color…. because… (i.e. I can feel the color yellow because I am really happy and the color yellow is really bright and joyful).

Activity: Red Bird Window Decoration

Adapted from Lilla A Design


Supplies: Pencil, tissue paper, glue, scissors, tape, and black cardstock

Go through the seasons with simple red bird window decorations. These will remind you of this story and the colors and beauty that each season brings. As you work on your craft you can listen to this calming bird chirping and see if it’s like dropping a cherry into your ear. 

  1. Draw the outline of your bird on the black cardstock. The shape is essentially a thick P with a sharp angle at the top. Cut it out and repeat if you would like to make multiple birds.
  2. Place glue on one side and stick the red tissue paper to cover the hole inside the bird. Trim the edges to that you can’t see any tissue paper on the outside of the cardstock and stick on the window using tape or some other type of adhesive.
  3. If you’d like, you can go a step further and craft more decorations that coincide with the season you are currently in. For example, if it is winter, you can cut out white snowflakes and add them to the scene on your window. Keep the seasonal colors in mind and try to incorporate them in any way you can.


Seasons Bulletin Extension

Try the Bulletin Board Extension created by Joyce Sidman. Help your child draw pictures and write words for things that they associate with each season. Discuss elements like weather, colors, holidays, etc and then pin them to the board in the corresponding box.