Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Istvan Banyai
Yes, yes, we know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's tough to gaze upon the whimsical dust jacket of Tap Dancing on the Roof without feeling hopefully giddy about the pages inside. Happily for us and you and children of all ages, the poems within more than live up to the promise of that little red-dressed girl and her very large scissors.
As explained in the Author's Note (a gold mine of information and tips for readers, writers, and teachers alike), sijo is a form of Korean poetry with a fixed number of stressed syllables and a surprise joke or twist at the end. Poem after poem, Linda Sue Park serves up witty observations about everything from long division to bedtime snacks, with plenty of unexpected surprises along the way. Istvan Banyai's playful illustrations -- rendered mostly in gray tones with dashes of color here and there -- wisely complement the poems without ever overwhelming the text. It's the book equivalent of a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top. Perfect!