Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Single Shard

A Single Shard
Written By: Linda Sue Park
Random House Children's Books.
February 2003
Age Range: 10 and up.
Pages: 152

This book is beautiful and unique in every way. It tells of a young orphan boy named Tree-Ear that lives with a crippled homeless man named Crane-Man in medieval Korea. Tree ear is usually unable to find much food, but after eating, his favorite thing to do is to go and watch the village potter, Min, make pottery. One day when Min is out, Tree-Ear goes into the potter's shop to explore and ends up breaking a valuable wooden box. In exchange, the potter make the boy work for nine days for him, because it takes at least three to make the box. After his working obligation is over, Tree Ear decides to stay on and help the potter with different tasks, hoping that the potter will decide to teach him how to make a pot. But more than likely, Tree ear won't get to make a pot because that skill is usally passed down from father to son and Min's son is dead. One day, an person of the imperial court comes to find a potter to work in the new palace. And so Tree ear travels to show the emmisary the potter's best work. On his way to the city, Tree ear is attacked by robbers and every single pot is broken and Tree Ear is left with a single shard of pottery to show the skill of Min's work. At the end of the story, Crane Man dies, but Tree Ear's hard work has paid off. Min's work will be used and Tree ear is adopted into Min's family and gets a new name and finally learns how to make a pot.
Who would benefit from reading this book?
Any adult or child who is interested in different Asian cultures will enjoy this book. Despite being a work of fiction, it is immensely educational and teaches several different important values.
What problems do you see arising from reading this book?
I do not currently see any problems arising from reading this book.
What was your reaction?
The book was OKAY. While being very unique and beautifully written, it's not the sort of book I would usually read.

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