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November 3, 2008

A Single Shard

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A Single Shard

Author: Linda Sue Park

Page Length: 155

Reading Level: 6.2

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Tree-ear is an orphan who lives under the bride with Crane-man surviving off of the scraps of rice and food found around the village. Tree-ear is fascinated by master Min’s pottery; he often hides among the shrubs to watch Min at work. One day, Tree-ear accidentally breaks one of Min’s pots; he then becomes indebted to repay him in service. Tree-ear learns much about pottery as he works with Min. One day, Tree-ear decides to take a long journey in hopes of reaching the King’s Court with his master’s pottery.Tree-ear’s journey is dangerous and fraught with many trials. Can he and the precious pottery survive the trip? After all, a royal commission would not only distinguish Min but provide a comfortable life for he and his wife. 

REVIEW: While this book is a Newberry Medal Winner, it seemed to lack in engagement for me possibly because the details of the pottery and the process became tedious to me. However, the characters are authentic – the reader can feel what it was like for Tree-ear and Crane man. The reader also experience’s Min’s lingering pain over the loss of his son. Tree-ear’s hope to learn the trade of pottery and is never fail attitude is refreshing – and a great character trait to impart to students. Overall, the message is beautiful and the book is an excellent tool for understanding life in twelfth-century Korea.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: description, imagery, mood, tone, author’s purpose, sequence of events, cause and effect, external conflict, character traits, historical connections

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: thieves threatening Tree-ear, death of a friend

RELATED BOOKS: My Name was Keiko, Seesaw Girl, Keeping Score, Archer’s Quest, The Kite Fighters



REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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