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


****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.

Review of another book by Linda Sue Park:
Prairie Lotus
Gondra's Treasure

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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