Friday, May 22, 2009

Tap Dancing on the Roof - Sijo poems by Linda Sue Park

Poetry is wonderful to share with children. It's like little nuggets of chocolate - poems pack a lot of flavor with just a little bit of text. They linger in your mouth, and can make you think of memories from long ago. One of my favorite book of poems is Tap Dancing on the Roof, by Linda Sue Park.
Tap dancing on the roof : sijo (poems)
by Linda Sue Park, pictures by Istvan Banyai
NY: Clarion Books, c2007.
ages 7 - 12
Tap Dancing on the Roof is a collection of original poems written in the Sijo style, a traditional Korean form. The poems are funny, but it a way that makes kids think and then laugh. All of these poems have a twist in the last line. Here's an example of one of our favorites in our family:

For this meal, people like what they like, the same every morning.
Toast and coffee. Bagel and juic. Cornflakes and milk in a white bowl.

Or -- warm, soft, and delicious -- a few extrea minutes in bed.
(c) Linda Sue Park, 2008.
Sijo is similar to haiku, a traditional Japanese poetic form, because they both have a fixed number of stressed syllables in each line. Sijo has 3 short lines or 6 long lines. But instead of focusing on nature themes, like haiku, Siju poems always have an ironic, unexpected twist in the last line. Here's another favorite from the collection:

Ocean Emotion

The red flag waves its stern warning:
The ocean churns, foams, roars, dashes,
hurles huge breakers at the sand!

The next day it's all tired out
and takes a long nap in the sun.`

(c) Linda Sue Park, 2009.
This is a book that will appeal to kids in 3rd through 6th grades. I've enjoyed reading these poems aloud with my 2nd grader, but we need to go slowly and talk about some of the twists in the poems.

You can find it at the Berkeley Public Library and the Oakland Public Library. It's also available online at IndieBound independent bookstores and Amazon.

Find other reviews of Tap Dancing on the Roof at A Year of Reading and Shelf Elf.
If you like sharing poetry with your child, check out Poetry Friday on the web. This week it's being hosted by Susan Taylor Brown.

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