by Linda Sue Park

Summary

School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ 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 –Barbara Scotto (Reviewed May 1, 2001) (School Library Journal, vol 47, issue 5, p158)

Awards:

  • ALA Notable Children’s Books: 2002
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Middle Readers Category: 2001
  • Newbery Medal
  • School Library Journal Best Books: 2001
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2002

 

Topics

5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Ages 9-12, Historical Fiction