Monday, February 11, 2013

Tap Dancing on the Roof (Sijo Poems) by Linda Sue Park

Tap Dancing on the Roof (Sijo Poems)
by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Istvan Banyai
48 pages
October 2007

Book Jacket Summary
A sijo, a traditional Korean verse form, has a fixed number of stressed syllables and a humorous or ironic twist at the end. Like haiku, sijo are brief and accessible, and the witty last line winds up each poem with a surprise. The verses in this book illuminate funny, unexpected, amazing aspects of the everyday--of breakfast, thunder and lightning, houseplants, tennis, freshly laundered socks. Carefully crafted and deceptively simple, Linda Sue Park's sijo are a pleasure to read and an irresistible invitation to experiment with an unfamiliar poetic form. Istvan Banyai's irrepressibly giddy and sophisticated illustrations add a one-of-a-kind luster to a book that is truly a gem.  
My Thoughts
 According to the book a Sijo poem (in English) is "written using using a syllabic structure" like a haiku but in a different form. The sijo poem is "three lines, each with fourteen to sixteen syllables". Linda Sue Park expands on her explanation in her author notes with a historical background on the Korean poetry style and books to read if you are interested in sijo poetry. 
Linda Sue Park has been mentioned on my blog several times because she is such a good writer about the Korean-American experience and just for being an awesome writer. I am glad she branched out to show us another form of her culture, poetry. The sijo poems that she presents are funny and deal with the everyday life of a child. Everything from breakfast, to pockets, to bedtime snacks. I highly enjoyed her playful nature and the strange pictures that accompany them. 
I would recommend this one to those who cannot get enough of Shel Silverstein because Park's poems are so fun and sometimes strange. They ring true and I love that in sijo poetry the last verse tends to have a twist of a pun or play on words. It makes the world just a little bit brighter.

Book Pairings
Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager 


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