Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) Book Poster Image
Playful poems dance with a simple, gleeful rhythm.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this witty, playful book of poems introduces Sijo, a Korean form of poetry.

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What's the story?

This is a book of original sijo poems, a very old Korean form of poetry. After presenting a series of poems, all of which deal with small experiences of everyday life, notes explain what sijo is and give tips for writing your own.

Is it any good?

Even without understanding the traditional form of sijo, reading these poems aloud is a joy. For any age, the subject matter of each verse is gentle and easy to connect to. The word play is witty and fun, but not too silly, and each poem ends with a subtle twist.

Each of the poems in this book are Linda Sue Park originals. And each is illustrated with the simple cartoon-like artwork of Istvan Banyai, whose editorial illustrations can be found in the pages of The New Yorker and Rolling Stone. This is the first book of poetry for Park, the daughter of Korean immigrants who published her first poem when she was 10. Aside from writing it and other picture books and novels, she won the Newbery Medal for A Single Shard in 2002.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the images in each sijo, and then the clever, unexpected twists at the end. Anyone who loves words and wordplay, even young readers, will enjoy the craft involved. And, they will have fun following the tips at the end of the book to construct their own.

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