Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Master Puppeteer” as Want to Read:
The Master Puppeteer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Master Puppeteer

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,772 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Who is the man called Sabura, the mysterious bandit who robs the rich and helps the poor? And what is his connection with Yosida, the harsh and ill- tempered master of feudal Japan's most famous puppet theater? Young Jiro, an apprentice to Yosida, is determined to find out, even at risk to his own life.

Meamwhile, Jiro devotes himself to learning puppetry. Kinshi, the puppe
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 24th 1989 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 1975)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Master Puppeteer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Master Puppeteer

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,580)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Novel yang berkisah tentang seorang bocah di Osaka di sekitar tahun 1700-an, saat masyarakat Jepang umumnya kekurangan pangan sementara para pedagang, samurai, dan Daimyo menyibukkan diri dengan perang yang berkelanjutan.

Si Bocah, Jiro, meninggalkan rumah orang tuanya dan memilih untuk mengabdi pada sebuah teater boneka yang dipimpin oleh Yoshida. Di tempat itu ia berteman baik dengan Yoshida Kinshi, putra si ketua, yang tidak terlalu berbakat untuk menjadi dalang boneka. Di saat yang sama, seor
A word to homeschooling parents: Give your kids good books to read. That being said, I've never read a thriller/mystery in a Japanese setting that I didn't absolutely love. Being half-Asian myself, and fascinated by the Japanese culture, I might be a tad biased, but still.

There are a lot of underdog stories about kids trying to make in the big leagues of whatever their passion is; in this case Kabuki theater.

The story (riddled with enigmatic and super well developed characters) starts as a hung
I have no idea how accurate this account of the life of a young apprentice in a Bunraku puppet theater may be, but it certainly seems well researched and well written. Also, some of the character interactions seemed sort of odd to me, but odd in a way similar to situations I've encountered in Japanese literature and film before, so without any cultural expertise myself I'll go out on limb to say that Ms. Paterson has done a pretty good job introducing the younger reader to the world of Feudal Ja ...more
The Master Puppeteer is of course another favorite. It is the story of Sabura, a Japanese Robin Hood who steals from the rich to help the very poor in the Japanese feudal system. Jiro,an apprentice, learn’s from the puppet master’s son (Kinshi) the trade of both making and using beautiful puppets for entertainment. As the hungry crowd mobs and the authorities furiously search for the true identity of Sabura, Jiro is caught in the middle between Yoshida his master and his family. Fantastic suspen ...more
When I picked up this book, it automatically knew it was something no one would read, ever. So that is exactly why I picked it up. When I started reading it, it was very slow. I soon was in the beginning- middle ish part of the book. I put it down and started reading other books. School was about a week away from ending and I never pick up a book and don't finish. I finished it in a day because in knew I had to. I was soon very intrigued by the ancient details and fascinating story lines. I was ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Dominic rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Readers
Recommended to Dominic by: Mrs.Walters
This a wonderful junior high-school level novel that serves as a perfect introduction to Japanese culture for children. It is also a great segway into more difficult Japanese ceremony novels such as "The Great Teahouse Fire," and "Memoirs of a Geisha." Overall, A-.
This was interesting. Obviously I have no idea what feudal Japan was really like, but this seems pretty well researched and accurate for what I do know. It's fun and fast-paced, though slightly confusing in parts.

Jiro, the hero of the story, joins a theater troupe because his father is starving and he thinks he will be one less mouth to feed. There are reports around the town of a Robin Hood-like figure stealing food from the rich people. Jiro thinks he discovers the identity of the figure and t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Llewellyn
At least ten years have passed since I last read this book and couldn't remember a thing about it although I do remember reading Of Nightingales That Weep in which the protagonist was a girl. In this second of Paterson's historical fiction novels, set in 18th century Japan, a young boy is driven by hunger and his family's desperate poverty to apprentice himself to a puppet theater. He makes friends with the other boys, particularly the theater owner's son, and is a quick enough learner to earn a ...more
This novel is a fictions mystery about a puppeteer apprentice named Jiro who tries to discover the secret of a master thief named Saburo. Jiro lives during a time of great famine, set in Osaka, Japan in the 1700's. There are many people who are struggling to survive. Jiro takes up a puppeteering apprentice with a strict and evil man named Yoshida, and discovers that there is a connection between Saburo, the thief, and Yoshida, his evil master. Saburo is a Robin Hood like figure who has been stea ...more
AR: 5.4
Grades: 5-8
This is Susan's Review:

Despised by his mother, and he thinks, a burden to his puppet-maker father, young Jiro becomes an apprentice at the Hanaza puppet theater. The master puppeteer, Yoshida, is cruel to his son, Kinshi, but everyone else he treats fairly, if strictly. Most important, there is always enough food at Hanaza, though many others are starving in Osaka. Kinshi and the blind old chanter, Okada, are kind to Jiro, but the boy worries about his ill father and his hungry
Alejandro Brand
Una obra juvenil pero bastante hermosa, que nos cuenta de una forma sutil como es el arte de las marionetas en u pueblo japones del siglo XVIII o XIX, y mezcla esto con algo de la problematica social de este país en aquellos días. Recomendado especialmente para jovenes pero cualquiera lo puede leer como todo.
Deborah Hawkins
This is a great Japanese version of Robin Hood. My kids were thrilled with this story and begged me to keep reading. I found it pleasant to read aloud. I love the small details in the book like the bathhouse scene, the description of the bowing, taking the shoes off as they enter a room etc. that are very culturally relevant. The author was very familiar with her setting and it made the story enjoyable.
Jason O
Master puppeteer by Katherine Paterson is an okay book to read. I didn't like the book and I thought this book was boring in my opinion because it is slow paced and doesn't have any actions. Throughout the book, there are almost no actions at all until the end. I generally like fantasy books that are full of action, so this book wasn't fit for me. However this book does teach the reader a lot about Japanese culture and their traditions. Eventhough I and some other people in my group didn't like ...more
Monica Cheng
Hm, this read was very strange. I loved it till the but I didn't understand some things.

(view spoiler)
Shanell Surgeon
This book is not exactly the type of book i would choose to read but I ended up loving it anyways. This book as friendship, betrayal, hardships, sacrifice, and victory. The Master Puppeteer is a very inspiring book. Its about a young boy living in Japan during a time of famine and poverty. His family had little to no money or food and he has to choose whether or not to stay home or to go off to the theater and work to possibly support his family. He ends up taking the job offer. Even while he ha ...more
The Master Puppeteer is a historical fiction themed book that takes place in feudal Japan during the 1700s. It is about a young boy named Jiro who's family is starving and wants to help them desperately and will go on to become an apprentice puppeteer for the renowned theater the Hanza.

This is truly a fantastic book with incredibly interesting characters and I wonderful setting. It is filled with suspense throughout the whole book and never once was I bored. There was always something to keep
Maria Cupery
beautiful and authentic. This is what people are talking about when they say a book can truly make you experience another culture.
I had to read this book for school. I wasn't expecting much since most of the novels you read in school are really lame but this one suprised me. The book jumps right into the conflict right away which is always nice as to books who take 200 pages to get really into it. The characters created are very real and there is a lot of background information about medeaval Japan. The conflict is very interesting and the book is a nice quick read. My only complaint is the ending. After reading so much it ...more
Yoshi Boots
It's okay. Not the worst book, but it's not really good. It's readable, but not a book I would recommend.
I personally think this book had a very good plot, and I loved the fact that it's set in Japan. I'm a sucker for ANYTHING (or almost anything) remotely Japanese. My favorite part wa the telling of the plot of the 'Thief of the Tokaido' play. It was so vivid to me that I could see the puppets very movements, as if I had really been within the audience. If I had to pick one thing that bugged me though: for a lot of characters (not all, but some) there seemed to be a lack of a character arch, and i ...more
Only read it because school made me. \_(ツ)_/ ...more
It was wonderful to read and learn about the Japanese puppet theater with my boys, which we knew nothing about previously, especially as we were reading Pinocchio at the same time - we became immersed in our spontaneous "unit" on puppets! We found some short videos on youtube that showed clips of Bunraku (Japanese puppet theater), which is both beautiful and fascinating. We found ourselves engrossed in the story of this book as well, which is of a boy who grows up and learns about responsibility ...more
Sarah Tilatitsky
I really like this book becuase this book teaches aobut honor, courage, and trust. It teaches about honor in the way of being humble, and trying to be modest in what you do. It teaches about courage, becuase it takes a lot to ask a teacher to take you in as an apprentice, especially when the teacher expects the parent, not the child. It teaches about thrust, becuase trust is what this whole story holds up on. Otherwise, well, trust will be gone. With no trust, nothing will be done. So, read and ...more
Addicted to Stories
This book was pretty good. One of the only books I had to read for school that I liked, other than On My Honor. Surprisingly, most of my classmates liked this book too. Only reason for four stars was because of some hard to understand words (obsequious, for example) and 'cause at the end, the story kind of just dribbled away. But I like the adventure and reality of this book. Gives people a good picture of history in Japan, not only in the US.I recommend this book for grades 6-8, ages 11-14. :)
Joshua Serrano Serrano
This is a book that I enjoyed. Throught the entire book, the main issue was the main character trying to make a better life for himself without turning his back on his family. His mom was a bitter, sickly woman and his dad had a hard time making a living for them. When the opportunity came up for him to live a better life he has to take it. This book had lots of big conflicts that he has to choose himself or others. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read.
Started off really well but the last 60 pages or so was a confusion of action and mixed identities.
Taught this to my 6th graders this year. Chose it because Katherine Paterson wrote it, and well she's only a legend in Children's Lit.

It's great historical fiction. A little too tough for my regular 6th graders (they got frustrated even with me reading it aloud), but my advanced readers handled it fine. A very exciting story with a thief, fights with parents, and mystery. Good lessons and morals about loyalty. Great for kids who love Japanese culture.
I am having to read this book for school because it "goes along with our studies of Medieval Japan"... It is actually a good book, better than the ones I have had to read in the past. However, I think I might enjoy it more if I was reading it on my own. Idk, I probably would not have chosen to read it because I am not a history person... but good book with good plot. If you like historical fiction it is a good book. I would recommend it for you.
Stephanie H.
This is one of my favorite school books to have read this year. I enjoyed reading it aloud to my two oldest children and they quite enjoyed it as well. We were transported to another time and place. There was a complexity to the story that didn't involve coming out and hitting us on the head with obvious themes and the ending was not tied up all neat and pretty. This book was a springboard for some great discussions.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 85 86 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Daughter of the Mountains
  • The House of Sixty Fathers
  • Master Cornhill
  • The Kite Fighters
  • The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam
  • Mystery of the Roman Ransom
  • Li Lun, Lad of Courage
  • Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
  • Homesick: My Own Story
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • The Big Wave
  • The Great and Terrible Quest
  • Tales of a Korean Grandmother: 32 Traditional Tales from Korea
  • The Ides of April (Roman Empire Sequence, #2)
  • The Samurai's Tale
  • I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
  • Shadow Spinner
  • A Murder for Her Majesty
From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted t
More about Katherine Paterson...
Bridge to Terabithia Jacob Have I Loved The Great Gilly Hopkins Lyddie Bread and Roses, Too

Share This Book

“We all learn here by the honorable path of horrible mistakes.” 13 likes
More quotes…