Friday, May 24, 2013

PPBF: Tap Dancing on the Roof

TitleTap Dancing on the Roof
Author/Illustrator: Linda Sue Park/Istvan Banyai
Publisher/Date: Clarion Books/2007
Genre/Audience: Poetry/Ages 4-8
Themes: sijo (Korean poetic form), events in a day, school year, seasons

Opening: (First poem)


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

Or--warm, soft, and delicious--a few extra minutes in bed.

Synopsis: (From

"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."

Why I Love This Book:
I love that sijo is a lesser-known cousin to haiku. It has a specific number of syllables and, with a surprise ending, each poem delights. There are so many ways to extend this to the literacy classroom. Linda Sue Park has proven herself a master of many children's genres, from her Newbery Award winning novel A Single Shard to picture books and poetry, her books are a sure bet.

Great general resource:

Sijo writing competition, open to students grade 12 and younger

Linda Sue Park's website

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. I had never heard of sijo. Now you've made me curious! Is the title a reference to thunder? I could have used that comforting visual yesterday.

    1. The title is actually from a poem called LONG DIVISION!

  2. I'm another sijo newbie. They sound like they would make for some great kid-friendly poems.

  3. Laura, I'm not familiar with sijo, but I like what you shared. Great discussion and activities to share with kids. Really like your choice.

  4. this sounds like a lot of fun! I'm all for rhythm and surprises at the end! I'll be checking this one out. Thanks!

  5. I have never been disappointed by Linda Sue Park. Thanks for introducing me to this book and to sijo. "Can't wait!

  6. I am new to sijo too. Interesting and love the unexpected twist to end poems. Need to look into this. Thanks for sharing, Laura.