From the Publisher
A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book
"It's wonderfully strange to read of colors with sounds, smells and tastes."--New York Times Book Review
"A charming inspiration to notice colors and correlate emotions"--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This book has a freshness and visual impact all its own, and it will inspire a rainbow of uses."--The Bulletin, starred review
"Sustaining the playfulness of the text and its sense of awe, mystery, and beauty, the illustrations contribute gracefully to the celebration."--Horn Book, starred review
"As the title implies, the colors that surprise on every page, do sing."--Booklist, starred review
Paul O. Zelinsky
…an illustrated poem chronicling the seasonal doings of Red, Yellow and so on, in atmospheric vignettes with a conceptual twist, and with exquisite results…Joyce Sidman's language is vivid and deft…draws mystery and magic around the most familiar scenes.
The New York Times
Anthropomorphized colors take charge in this fanciful book in praise of the seasons, from the collaborators behind This Is Just to Say. An androgynous crowned youth, dressed ornately in triangular apparel, plays host as colors are woven into unrhymed poetry. In spring, pink is "hairless,/ featherless,/ the color of/ new/ things," while in summer, the youth finds a companion whose headpiece is a cross between a crown and a cowboy hat (filled with fish, no less), and the two royal personages indulge in popcorn and lemonade on the dock of a bay. Fall strikes a more melancholy tone: "the wind feels black:/ star-spangled,/ full of secrets," as an enormous whale blends into the nightscape. Broad swathes of color compose the seasonal palettes, juxtaposed with painstakingly precise designs. The effect is evocative of primitive antiques: fleur-de-lis, checkered print and scrawled calligraphy abound, creating an artful-if, at times, precious-display that works in tandem with the gentle musings of the imagistic verse. The regal elegance is sure to charm. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Colors are personified in free verse as they dance through the seasons of the year. "Red sings from treetops" in the spring, and "squirms on the road after rain." Green is shy, however, peeking from buds. Yellow "shouts with light!" and greets purple. Blue, white, and pink all make an appearance. In summer, "white clinks in drinks," yellow "melts everything," green "is queen." Each of the other colors has a page to bring alive their summer roles. In the fall, "green is tired…" brown rises, orange ripens, as the other colors change as well. Winter brings new descriptions, all on target, of the colors, with white the outstanding player. Zagarenski chooses a strange, mysteriously crowned human and small white dog to march us through the pages and seasons. Scraps of newspapers and other decorative fragments are combined with mixed media paintings on wood and computer illustrations to create illustrations that demand considerable scrutiny. The names of the colors are printed in their color inks to call attention to them. The poetic, evocative text balances the intriguing visuals in this attractive combination. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Through the seasons, this book personifies colors, starting with a red bird in early spring and concluding with it as winter ends. "In SPRING,/Red sings/from treetops:/cheer-cheer-cheer ,/each note dropping/like a cherry/into my ear." At first Green is shy, but in summer "Green is queen." "In fall, Yellow grows wheels/and lumbers/down the block,/blinking:/Warning-classrooms ahead ," and in winter "Gray and Brown hold hands." Sidman encourages readers to experience color with all of the senses. Some of Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings are full of light and others are darker and slightly haunting, but the rich colors come to life on the page. The words and pictures depend upon one another and blend well to conjure up quirky, magical imagery. Children will find many small stories waiting to be told within the detailed paintings and enjoy looking at them over and over. This poetic tribute to the seasons will brighten dull days.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Describing seasons by colors is not an original concept, but this whimsical color calendar sparkles with creativity. Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings on wood and computer illustration have a European folk-art style. The described hues are block-highlighted in the text while the artwork details the imagery in the words. A woman and her white dog, both wearing paper crowns, wander through the four seasons, observing nature's palette: "In summer, / BLUE grows new names: / turquoise, / azure, / cerulean." A red bird flying across the pages becomes a continuity motif. In summer, RED is a delicate hummingbird; in fall, "RED swells / on branches bent low. / RED: crisp, juicy, / crunch!" In winter, "RED hops to treetops / ...begins to sing: / and each note drops / like a cherry / into / my / ear." The seasons flow into each other, bringing readers full circle. Fresh descriptions and inventive artistry are a charming inspiration to notice colors and correlate emotions. Details in the artwork will invite repeated readings and challenge kids to muse about other color icons. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)