Monday, April 21, 2008

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

A. Title: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

B. Author: Linda Sue Park


C. Illustrator: Istvan Banyai


D. Publisher: Clarion Books a Houghton Mifflin Company Imprint


E. Genre: Children's Poetry; Sijo Poems


F. Reading Level: 2+


G. Summary: The beginning of Tap Dancing on the Roof has an explanation on Sijo poetry. "All the poems in this book are sijo. Sijo is a traditional Korean form of poetry. Like a Japanese haiku, a sijo is written using a syllabic structure. In its most common form, a sijo in English has three lines, each with fourteen to sixteen syllables. Because the lines can be quite long on the page, sijo in English are sometimes divided into six shorter lines..." The sijo poems that are in this book are both three lines and six lines. The poems are all different with varying topics, and the end of sijo poems usually has a suprise, special twist, or joke. Some poem titles include "Long Division," "Brushing, "Ocean Emotion," "Echo," November Thursday," and "Botany Lesson." The illustrations are drawings done in ink with mostly black, but other colors are present throughout the illustrations. Most of the illustrations are single page spreads, but for a few poems, like "October" below, they're double page spreads.

H. Response: I absolutely love this book because I have never even heard of a Sijo Poem before. In school I was taught all about haiku poetry, but I never learned about the Korean form of poetry. The children's poetry in Tap Dancing on the Roof falls into the category of form poems; the haiku poem also falls into this category. The book itself is extremely helpful in understanding what a Sijo is. The beginning has an excellent page devoted to explaining the Sijo, while the end of the book has an author's note, historical background information, furhter reading suggestions, and tips for writing your own Sijo. This book is basically screaming classroom application because everything you need for a lesson plan is in this book. The illustrations in this book are very interesting and vary greatly between poems. Some illustrations have colored ink and others just have black. My favorite illustration goes along with the poem below, "October." It has a two page spread with the branches, leaves and everyone's hair billowing in the wind, all done in a grey color scheme.

I. Teaching Ideas: Straight off the top of my head, this would be an excellent book for a writing poetry lesson plan. Not only is the book full of fun and interesting examples of Sijo poetry, but there is also a very clear explanation of the sijo poem and tips for writing your own. Tap Dancing on the Roof can be read as a class and then the students can experiment writing their own sijo poems. The whole class could write and illustrate their poems and compile a book and each student could have a copy. There could be a unit that combines sijo and haiku poetry that could involve historical information, reading examples of the poetry, and creating their own.

J. Favorite Poem:
"October"

The wind rearranges the leaves,
as if to say, "Much better there,"
and coaxes others off their trees:
"It's lots more fun in the air."

Then it plays tag with a plastic bag,
and with on gust uncombs my hair!

I love this poem because it is so playful. My favorite thing about it is how the wind takes on personality and characteristics. There are many fun poems in here that would be great for in class exercises.

1 comment:

Dr. Frye said...

Thank you for introducing us to Sijo poetry! I love it! I really like the twist at the end of each poem. Do these poems have to be about nature like Haiku? Thanks for sharing Rachel!