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Park (Seesaw Girl) molds a moving tribute to perseverance and creativity in this finely etched novel set in mid- to late 12th-century Korea. In Ch'ul'po, a potter's village, Crane-man (so called because of one shriveled leg) raises 10-year-old orphan Tree Ear (named for a mushroom that grows "without benefit of "parent-seed"). Though the pair reside under a bridge, surviving on cast-off rubbish and fallen grains of rice, they believe "stealing and begging... made a man no better than a dog." From afar, Tree Ear admires the work of the potters until he accidentally destroys a piece by Min, the most talented of the town's craftsmen, and pays his debt in servitude for nine days. Park convincingly conveys how a community of artists works (chopping wood for a communal kiln, cutting clay to be thrown, etc.) and effectively builds the relationships between characters through their actions (e.g., Tree Ear hides half his lunch each day for Crane-man, and Min's soft-hearted wife surreptitiously fills the bowl). She charts Tree Ear's transformation from apprentice to artist and portrays his selflessness during a pilgrimage to Songdo to show Min's work to the royal court he faithfully continues even after robbers shatter the work and he has only a single shard to show. Readers will not soon forget these characters or their sacrifices. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Gr 5-8-In this tale of courage and devotion, a single shard from a celadon vase changes the life of a young boy and his master. In 12th-century Korea, the village of Ch'ulp'o is famous for its pottery. The orphan Tree-ear spends his days foraging for food for himself and Crane-man, a lame straw weaver who has cared for him for many years. Because of his wanderings, Tree-ear is familiar with all of the potters in the village, but he is especially drawn to Min. When he drops a piece Min has made, Tree-ear begins to work for him to pay off his debt, but stays on after the debt is paid because he longs to learn to create beautiful pots himself. Sent to the royal court to show the king's emissary some new pottery, Tree-ear makes a long journey filled with disaster and learns what it means to have true courage. This quiet story is rich in the details of life in Korea during this period. In addition it gives a full picture of the painstaking process needed to produce celadon pottery. However, what truly stands out are the characters: the grumpy perfectionist, Min; his kind wife; wise Crane-man; and most of all, Tree-ear, whose determination and lively intelligence result in good fortune. Like Park's Seesaw Girl (1999) and The Kite Fighters (2000, both Clarion), this book not only gives readers insight into an unfamiliar time and place, but it is also a great story.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
An orphan boy in 12th century Korea lives under the bridge with a crippled man. He is fascinated with the pottery made by the craftsman in the nearby pottery village. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2007 by Nicola Mansfield
I started reading this book for a book project in language arts. I thought it was kind of boring at first, but as I kept on reading, it got more and more interesting. Read morePublished on March 3 2007 by Kris Finkenbinder
His name, Tree-ear, was given to him because it was the name of a mushroom that grew without a parent seed. Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by Gail Cooke
Hi, I'm thirteen years old, and I read this book assigned to me by my teacher (required for eighth grade students in my school). Read morePublished on March 6 2004
I won this book in a competition at my school. Usually they give books to the winners that are boring and educational books. But, wow, I was blown away by A Single Shard. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by Nathan
at first i was suspicious that this book won the newbery medal just to be politically correct, but it turned out to be very well-written and in the end quite moving. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004 by spacedog
This Newberry winner is set in 11th century Korea and is about a young orphan pottery apprentice called Tree-ear. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2003 by H. Cross