Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

2.5 4
by Linda Sue Park, Istvan Banyai
     
 

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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,… See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Similar to the Japanese haiku, the Korean sijo packs image, metaphor and surprise into three long (or six short) lines with a fixed number of syllables: "Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!/ Which draws grumbling complaints or even crashing tantrums from thunder-/ He hates having his picture taken, so he always gets there late." Newbery Medalist Park's (A Single Shard) sijo skip lightly from breakfast ("warm, soft, and delicious-a few extra minutes in bed") to bedtime (about bathing: "From a tiled cocoon, a butterfly with terry-cloth wings"), with excursions to the backyard, the classroom, and the beach ("Are all the perfect sand dollars locked away somewhere-in sand banks?"). The sijo's contours are clean and spare, qualities echoed in the blue-gray, black and white architecture and crisp shadows of Banyai's (Zoom) digital illustrations. In the spirit of Park's experiments with this verse form, Banyai's miniature children bounce through a series of imaginative leaps unencumbered by the rules of the real world. They sleep in teacups, grow wings and fly among the flowers, snip mathematical equations to bits with gigantic pairs of scissors, and wreak havoc with bottles of ink. Park wants readers to try sijo for themselves, and in an extensive author's note she offers history, advice and encouragement; her own sijo and Banyai's cheeky images will supply the motivation. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)

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Children's Literature - Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Park meets the challenge of the traditional Korean poetic form of sijo in more than two dozen carefully and cleverly fashioned verses. For those tired of haiku, these are a real treat. The author clearly explains the form: sijo are usually three lines, each fourteen to sixteen syllables and each with a special purpose. The subjects of the poems are not limited to nature, like haiku, but range from "Breakfast" and "Long Division" to weather, creatures, and sports. Rhymes are optional. Banyai's digitally-executed illustrations add considerably to the enjoyment. The endpapers echo some early black and white cartoons. In the beginning, a young ink-covered boy falls into an inkwell, supplying ink. At the end, he satisfies his curiosity by dumping the ink out and covering himself with it. The line drawings that accompany each sijo have touches of color but their charm is in the depicted action with no settings needed. A youngster with attached wings seeks pollen in a purple blossom; another stretches his waistband to accommodate more Thanksgiving turkey. Historic background, a bibliography, and tips for aspiring sijo writers are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 2-6

Sijo is a traditional Korean form of poetry that can take two different shapes, three lines or six lines, using a strict syllable count as haiku does but with distinct differences. All of the lines have a purpose: in a three-line poem, the first one would be the introduction, the second would continue the theme, and the third and final line holds a sort of punch line, be it a play on words or a whimsical observation. Park's sijo , 28 in all, harmonize with illustrations that are deceptively simple at first glance, but have a sophistication and wise humor that will make viewers smile, and at second glance make them think. The selections are thoughtful, playful, and quirky; they will resonate with youngsters and encourage both fledgling and longtime poets to pull out paper and pen. The author's note includes historical background on sijo , further-reading suggestions, and a helpful guide to writing in the form. A smart and appealing introduction to an overlooked poetic form.-Susan Moorhead, New Rochelle Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
"Sijo," Park tells readers of this beguiling wee book, "is a traditional Korean form of poetry. . . . The first line introduces the topic. The second line develops [it]. And the third line always contains some kind of twist." Thus, "Pockets": "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." Some sijo rhyme, some use six short lines instead of three long. All provide an intriguing glimpse into an art form that, like haiku, seems simple but is in fact exacting. The poems spring from roots in a child's everyday life, from school to the out-of-doors to sports to homey activities, each inviting readers to examine their familiar world in new and surprising ways. Banyai's whimsical decorations evoke the early 20th century, tiny moppets clad in knee pants gamboling about the page, adding their own droll commentary to the verses. A concluding note provides background, resources and tips for readers to try their own sijo. Fresh and collegial, this offering stands out. (Picture book/poetry. 9-12)
From the Publisher

"Fresh and collegial, this offering stands out." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Banyai's illustrations enhance the collection with an extra element of wit and imaginative freedom.
Horn Book

Park wants readers to try sijo for themselves, and in an extensive author's note she offers history, advice and encouagement.
Publishers Weekly

A smart and appealing introduction to an overlooked poetic form.
School Library Journal, Starred

With this lighthearted collection of her own sijo, the form will take a flying leap into the consciousness of both children and teachers.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547394121
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/15/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
48
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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