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A Single Shard

by Linda Sue Park

Published by Clarion, 2001
152 pages
ISBN: 0-395-97827-0

Ages 9 - 12

In 12th century Korea, young Tree-Ear is an orphan living with elderly Crane-Man. Crane-Man, too, is an outcast, but the two of them share a close and loving bond. Ch'ulp'o, where they live, is a village known throughout Korea and beyond for the lovely Celadon green glaze of the pottery created there. Tree-Ear is fascinated by pottery making, especially the work of potter Min, the finest in the village. When Tree-Ear accidentally breaks one of Min's creations, he goes to work for Min to compensate the potter for his loss. Once the debt is paid, Tree-Ear continues working for the gruff and taciturn Min, hoping that he will eventually get a chance to create something at the potter's wheel. In the meantime, he takes every opportunity he can to learn, and experiences startling and wonderfully evoked moments of deeper understanding of the mysteries of the art. He also shares the benefits of his work, such as the daily meal provided by Min's kind wife, with Crane-Man. A visit from the royal emissary, who has the power to assign coveted pottery commissions, ultimately has life-changing implications for Tree-Ear in Linda Sue Park's hard-to-put-down and highly appealing novel. An author's note provides additional historical information on the creation of Celadon pottery in Korea. CCBC Categories: Fiction for Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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