A Single Shard

by Linda Sue Park

In 12th-century Korea, young Tree-Ear is an orphan living with elderly Crane-Man.... read more

In 12th-century Korea, young Tree-Ear is an orphan living with elderly Crane-Man. Crane-Man and the boy are both outcasts, but the two 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. Linda Sue Park’s novel is hard to put down. An author’s note provides additional historical information on the creation of Celadon pottery in Korea. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

show less