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Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
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Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  72 reviews
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, fr
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 15th 2007 by Clarion Books
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Linda Sue Park introduces the Korean form of poetry, sijo, in “Tap Dancing on the Roof.” Park explains that sijo has a fixed number of stressed syllables divided into three or six lines. Sijo is similar to haiku, except that it always has a surprise, unexpected twist or joke at the end. For example…

Long Division

This number gets a wall and a ceiling. Nice and comfy in there.
But a bunch of other numbers are about to disrupt the peace—
Bumping the wall, digging up the cellar, tap dancing on the roof
This was fun! I had never heard of Sijo before, and Linda Sue Park gives a very nice introduction to it - both in her introduction and her author's note. She also gives a list of tips for writing your own sijo. I thought the illustrations were just okay. Some were cute, but nothing spectacular.

Sijo is similar to haiku with a syllabic structure, yet each line in the poem has its own purpose. The first line introduces the topic, the second develops the topic further, and the third always contains

Look, Ma! I learned something new today! :)

Tap Dancing on the Roof is a beautiful and creative collection of sijo poems by Linda Sue Park. Sijo is a type of Korean poetry similar to haiku’s syllabic structure and style, but with a surprise and twist at the end. The lines always end with a smile, pun, or idea to make readers think.

These pages come alive with poems and pictures ranging from inspirational and silly to profound and creepy. I devoured every word! The language will tickle all your sen
This wonderful poetry book is written in Sijo, a type of poem originating from Korea. A sijo is a fixed number of stressed syllables, usually divided into three or six lines. What a great activity for students! We so often teach students about Haikus, but rarely hear about Sijos. I loved reading these miniture poems. They all have a surprise or unique twist or joke at the end. They're so creative and imaginative. The simplistic illustrations add a quirky touch to the book. This was the first tim ...more
Maria Andrade
The book provided several sijo poems about personal experience, relationships, and everyday moments. Sijo is a traditional Korean form of poetry, almost similar to that of a haiku. Through the flipping of each page students are able to make personal connections to the poems addressed in each poem of the book. The poems write about breakfast, shower, brushing teeth, and even randomly a poem on frogs and souvenirs. An introduction to shijo poems would benefit students of all ages to grasp the basi ...more
A fabulous fluff book. Each and every poem is a modern English example of the classical Korean form of poetry called sijo. All of them are short, pithy, and end with a twist: think the very best haiku, but about anything(not just nature) and slightly longer. These particular sijo, being written for young readers, were light and funny: my favorites were "Long Division" and "Breakfast" but they were all good. This would be a great way to share the joy of poetry with little kids, especially for the ...more
It was fun to be introduced to another poetry form - sijo from Korea. It has three lines with 14-16 syllables or stresses. I appreciate that the last line has a twist or a bit of humor. I am glad I finally picked this one up. In the author's note at the end she explains that there are actually quite a few of these that have been written by women throughout history - since it was something that the palace courtesans would write. Kind of cool though I am not truly wanting to define courtesan for m ...more
Mary Ann
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.
This is another book that is a pleasure to hold as well as read. The format is square and smaller than most picture books. Inside, the paper is of good quality and provides a nice gleam to the whimsical illustrations.

Linda Sue Park introduces young readers to a Korean form of poetry, sijo. They are short poems that try to end with an unexpected, sometimes funny, twist at the end. The poems provide plenty of material for the Hungarian illustrator, Istvan Banyai. His figures barely stay on the pa
Amy Adams
This was a pretty cool little book. Think of a haiku. Now, give it a kick and double or triple it in size. Now you've got sijo! The poems were pretty funny, and the whole book was definitely interesting. I love the ones that ended with puns or that were particularly funny. Of course, they all have a little twist, which makes each one fun and unique.
The author's note in the back makes the book even easier to access and to incorporate into a lesson plan. This could definitely be a fun one for a c
Rachel Pence
"Tap Dancing on the Roof" by Linda Sue Park is a poetry book. This style of poetry she uses is Sijo, which Linda Park’s gives an example of what it is so that the reader will know what to expect. Sijo is a poem that started in Korea. It is a fixed number of stressed syllables used in three or six lines. Sijo’s are different than Haihu’s because Sijo’s have a surprise ending at the end of them (joke or twist). I think that any child would like this poetry book because it is fun for children of an ...more
I've never really heard of sijo before... but finding this e-book randomly I decided to read it, and I was not disappointed at all. Such an interesting form of poetry, because I've only heard of Haiku, Renga and Tanka which are Traditional Japanese forms of poetry.
Apr 08, 2014 Rebecca marked it as to-read
"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."
Catharine Keeffe
A very cool book that displays a different type of poetry! This book includes a Korean type of poetry which is fun and also students will love it because they are short and simple!
This book is filled with witty and fun Korean Sijo peotry. This is a great introductory book to poetry that does not rhyme. I would use this in an early childhood or elementary classroom.
I'm not a big fan of poetry, but this kept me reading all the way to the end! And I LOVE the artwork. Subtly humorous and heart-warming, much like the poems.
Buku puisi nih. Disebutnya Sijo. Apa itu sijo? Semacam puisi tradisional yang asalnya dari Korea. Seperti Haiku gitu deh, tapi di sijo ada kejutan di endingnya.

Jadi sijo itu biasanya terdiri dari tiga baris. Baris pertama memperkenalkan topik, baris kedua mengembangkan baris pertama, dan baris ketiga biasanya berisi kejutan seperti humor atau ironi, atau permainan kata-kata.

Nih contohnya:

Summer Storm

Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!
Which draws grumbling complaints or
Linh Tong
This book introduces an important aspect of Korean culture to children, which is the Sijo. Sijo is a form of poetry, similar to the Japanese Haiku. The book has a short, easy-to-read paragraph at the beginning of the book that tells children about what the Sijo is about,and how it came to be in the Korean culture. The book doesn’t have a specific plot, but it has a compilation of poems about everyday life that would be interesting and relatable to children. It includes poems about lunch, art cla ...more
Norah Almusharraf
What the thing that I like it in this book is the Korean poem style. Also, the poems that about different life style are very surprising. The writer has an ability of rising up the reader thinking and wondering. I think teacher could use this book in poetry and writing classes.
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Being poetry, this book doesn't fall under the classic divisions of themes and characters. Park introduces a well-hidden gem of poetry called Sijo, which are traditional poems from Korea. Park includes a note about Sijo poetry at the beginning and at the end of her book. With such an unknown writing style to me, these notes were very helpful. Tap Dancing on the Roof is an excellent springboard for poets or teachers to use when showcasing different poetry styles.

Reviewed from a library copy.
Ria Gill
Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) by Linda Sue Park. Sijo refers to the structure of Korean poetry. I read Tap Dancing on the Roof numerous times, and I was honestly more engaged by Istvan Banyai's illustrations (yes, I am a fan), than I was by Linda Sue Park's poems. There were poems that I enjoyed, such as "October," "Crocuses," and "Frog," there just were not enough of them. I would recommend this book either as a read aloud for toddlers, or even for any age up through adult.
Beth Chandler
Fun little poems with a twist, based on a centuries-old Korean poetry form. The art expands on the delights of each poem. Great for short storytime reads: there are so many themes, ranging from long division to seasons to pockets:

"...Empty pockets, unread books, lunches left on the bus--all a waste
In mine: One horse chestnut. One gum wrapper. One dime. One hamster."

My own poem-picks for summer: Frog, Summer Storm, Ocean Emotion (all appearing in that sequence in the book)
This is a nice collection of Korean sijo poetry, which I knew nothing about. Sort of like the Korean version of haiku, and I actually like sijo better than haiku. Seemed easier to write, and the twist at the end made it enjoyable. Park describes how to do it at the end. There were some lovely short ones, and I think kids would enjoy trying their hand at sijo rather than haiku. Haiku always seems to serious for me - this may be better suited for kids.
Jun 12, 2008 Laurie added it
Recommends it for: language arts/writing teachers
Recommended to Laurie by: Chris G.
Shelves: wmslibrary
Sijo: Korean poetic form, a bit like haiku.

This lovely illustrated book is filled with humorous poems that will appeal to elementary and middle school readers. Includes a guide to writing sijo at the end. Here's one of my favorites:


What's in your pockets right now? I hope they're not empty:
Empty pockets, unread books, lunches left on the bus--all a waste.
In mine: One horse chestnut. One gum wrapper. One dime. One hamster.
As a person who actively disliked poetry as a child, I'm so p[leased to see the variety of poetry of interest to kids that is now on our shelves - and this example is great. Haiku have been a standard classroom focus for poetry units for years - these sijo offer an alternative to readers and would-be writers. Linda Sue Park includes a light touch in her humorous twists, and Istvan Banyai's sketchy illustrations are perfectly matched!
I didn't love every poem in this book, but a lot of them were really fantastic, full of flashes of brilliance and strong imagery. So many of the illustrations are really wonderful too. I can't decide which one is my favorite!

I had never heard of sijo (Korean poems that are not unlike Japanese haikus), but Linda Sue Park does such a good job of explaining what they are and how to write them that I think I will give it a shot.
Deanna Donald
This is a great book to have in the classroom! I would use it everyday. It has different poems about things that occur in school everyday. It could be used as a great transition, read the poem about art class before students go to art or read about long division before starting a math lesson. It gets the students thinking dfferently from what they were just doing, and it promotes literacy in a different form! LOVE IT!
The Reading Countess
Park's Project Mulberry was a popular read aloud a few years ago when I taught fourth grade. Tap Dancing is entertaining, but not my favorite when compared to Mulberry. She does have a good sense of childhood and all things children, I must say.The carefree black and white illustrations help lend an airy feel to the the equally silly texts. Art class, school lunches, and the changing seasons are just a few topics explored.
Judi Paradis
One of my favorite new poetry books! All the poems are written in a Koren form called sijo, which is a little like haiku in that there are a set number of lines and syllables--so the poems are short. However, each poem is supposed to have a clever and funny twist at the end....and these all do. Try them if you like funny poems, such as those by Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein. You won't be disappointed.
Jessie Pate
Sijo is a type of poem that originated in Korea. Like the haiku, it has a set number of syllables, though the stressed syllables are what count here. They are usually divided into three lines, and many English sijos are divided into six to accommodate the difference in languages. There's usually a twist at the end.

These were humorous poems, nevermind the impressive feat of writing them according to form.
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Linda Sue Park is a Korean American author of children's fiction. Park published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. To date, she has written six children’s novels and five picture books for younger readers. Park’s work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard.

More about Linda Sue Park...
Storm Warning (The 39 Clues, #9) A Single Shard A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story Trust No One (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #5) When My Name Was Keoko

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