In honor of National Poetry Month, let me share one of my favorite favorite little books of poetry. Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park tickles my funny bone every time I read it.
tap dancing on the roof by linda sue park
Last year, when we were doing poetry in the library, we did a number of different fun forms, including haikus, concrete poetry, and limericks. But my favorite were sijos, a kind of Korean poetry, which none of the kids had ever heard of (I won’t lie – that’s one of the reasons I liked doing them).
A sijo is like a haiku in that it has a fixed number of syllables and is three lines (or sometimes divided into six shorter lines). But the main thing that sets a sijo apart is that the last line is a twist, a joke or a surprise, that catches you off guard.
When I’d introduce it, I’d always use the first poem, titled “Breakfast”, in the book as an example of that twist at the end:
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.
Fun, isn’t it?
One more, for good measure, called “School Lunch”:
Each food plopped by tongs or spatula
into its own little space –
square pizza here, square brownie there;
milk carton cube, rectangle tray.
My snack at home after school?
Anything without corners.
And the illustrations are just the perfect complement, unfussy and a little bit silly.
If you’re looking for something a little less popular in the poetry category, Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park is a good bet.