A Single Shard

A Single Shard
Age Range
12+
Release Date
April 03, 2001
ISBN
0192719580
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Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated–until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself–even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

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4 reviews
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4.5
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4.5(4)
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4.3(3)
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A stunning read
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3.3
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Tree-ear is a orphaned boy who leaves with his homeless friend crane-man under a bridge, tree-ear has always been fascinated by the potters in the town and there work and he has always watched afar until one day he he sneaks into master Mins backyard and accidentally breaks a jar, now in payment for the damage done he has to work for master Min. Tree-ear learns through hard work and failure the true meaning of persistence and courage as he has many adventures that will test his resolve and determination.

I enjoyed the book and although it might sound boring and simple it is actually a work of art and as well as being entertaining it teaches the importance of courage and persistence which is one of the many reasons I enjoyed and would recommend this books
Good Points
Quick read
Strong characters who will draw you in
A simple object turned into a intriguing book
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A Shard Worthy of Distinction
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It takes a lot of skill to make a book about an inanimate object interesting. Let me tell you, Linda Sue Park has done just that with "A Single Shard" and taken things a step further. She’s made this tale about a pot heartwarming and tear jerking.

"A Single Shard" follows the story of Tree-ear, an orphan in twelfth century Korea who begins an apprenticeship with a master potter. While that brief rundown might make the book seem boring, it’s anything but. As the story unfolds, Tree-ear learns lessons of hard work, discipline, family and constantly striving for your goals.

I grabbed this book in my search to find out what makes a Newbery Medal winner, and "A Single Shard" is one such book to hold that honor. While the mystery hasn’t been totally solved, Park’s moving writing about a pot really hints at the type of emotional prowess Newbery judges are looking for in an author’s writing. So many people can write well, but it’s the messages you deliver with that writing that really count.

All in all, thanks to "Shard," not only am I going to continue to grab more Newbery winners, but I’m also going to look into taking a pottery class here and there.
Good Points
Takes a seemingly ordinary inanimate object and turns it into an extraordinary thing.
Relatable characters who tug at your heartstrings.
Quick read that packs an emotional punch.
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Shaping Up
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I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I picked up ‘A Single Shard.’ I like historical fiction, but it isn’t what I turn to first thing when I’m perusing a shelf; I’m more of a sci-fi/fantasy kind of woman. But ‘A Single Shard’ is a Newbery Medal winner, and I’m trying to read all of the Newberys, so I ended up getting it from the library. I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book, and I read it in about three days.

In 12th century Korea, Tree-ear is an orphan who lives under a bridge with a crippled man named Crane-man in a village that specializes in pottery. The potters of Ch’ulp’o are some of the finest in all Korea, and Tree-ear particularly admires the work of the potter Min. After an accident, Tree-ear begins to work for Min, becoming an apprentice of sorts except Min will not teach him to throw pots. Eventually, in order to maybe secure a royal commission for Min, Tree-ear volunteers to walk from his little village all the way to the capitol of Korea. His journey shows his bravery, humility and determination, and the ending is sad but sweet and satisfying.

Okay, first off, I fell in love with Tree-ear in the you’d-be-the-best-little-brother-ever kind of way. He’s a great character, one who possesses a lot of positive qualities but isn’t perfect. Although he tries to do the right thing, he struggles with what is moral and what isn’t moral. His hopes are dashed more than once, but he never gives up, even when it seems like there is no reason to keep trying. The other characters in the book are really well-done as well and have motivations and explanations behind their personalities and their actions. I really liked Ajima and the kindness that she shows Tree-ear as well as her playfulness and her attitude. Crane-man has a wonderful sense of humor, and he often knows just what to say to make Tree-ear think harder and consider his actions or what he is about to do. I also loved learning about celadon potter creation; I never knew the green pots were a particular variety, I just thought they were neat! It’s a great story, one that middle school students with an interest in art or historical fiction will probably enjoy the most.
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Amazing
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Reader reviewed by K.P.P.

Are you interested in pottery, or ancient Korea, well A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is covered by those two subjects. One orphan named Tree-Ear also has an interest in pottery, but his dream of becoming one cant be fulfilled. For he is an orphan, the only job he can do is become a beggar. Soon this boy breaks his bounders and learns the art of pottery from a strict teacher. To prove his loyalty, he must go to the grand capital, and present his masters work. Read about the adventures of this amateur potter that I recommend to anyone who likes historical fiction. .
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