Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

cover

****A Single Shard

by Linda Sue Park

Reviewed March 14, 2003.
Clarion Books, New York, 2001.  152 pages.
The 2002 Newbery Award Winner.
Available at Sembach Library (JF PAR)
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #3, Young Adult and Children's Historical Fiction

This is a quietly good book, the sort of book that leaves you feeling uplifted.  It did keep me reading until late at night.

Tree-Ear is a homeless orphan living under a bridge with Crane-Man in ancient Korea.  He’s fascinated by the work of Min, a Master Potter in his village.  When he gets a chance to work for Min, he hopes to make beautiful vases, but is asked only to carry wood and dig out clay.

Tree-Ear has to make some choices.  Is it stealing to take something that isn’t an object, but only an idea?  He learns that a rival potter has a new idea that is sure to win the king’s commission.  Should he tell Min, who could carry it out much better?

I like the way Tree-Ear strives to do what’s right, under the wise counsel of Crane-Man.  After the popularity of books like The Thief Lord (which is a good book, but does suggest that homeless orphans have to steal), it’s nice to see a book honored in which the main character believes “Stealing makes a man no better than a dog.”

In the end, Tree-Ear must go on a journey to try to win the king’s commission for his master, and he meets setbacks along the way.  Here’s another book about an orphan finding where he belongs.

 
Reader comments:  An anonymous reader gives this book Five Stars with the comment, "It is cool."

Michelle gives it 4 stars, saying, "I really enjoyed this book!"


Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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