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The Master Puppeteer

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,843 ratings  ·  99 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
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 24th 1989 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 1975)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienSeven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara CohenIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellThe House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJongThe Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson
5th Grade Read Alouds
5th out of 16 books — 17 voters
Cinder by Marissa MeyerIn the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao LordAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen YangDoes My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-FattahThe Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng
Asian Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction
12th out of 111 books — 30 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,696)
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cindy
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
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Timothyl
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
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Zack
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
Libby
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
Rishabh Ramakrishnan
May 27, 2015 Rishabh Ramakrishnan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 7th graders
Recommended to Rishabh by: Our Language Arts Teacher
“The puppeteers act like the shadow of the doll and become its victim in manipulating it”-Miyake Shutaro. This quote was mentioned at the beginning of the book “The Master Puppeteer” written by Katherine Paterson. The quote was quite meaning full but I felt that Katherine didn’t really fulfill the idea throughout the book. The way the book was structured fell upon the lines of, Jiro, the main character in the story and how his choices came with unintended consequences. The book was based on the ...more
David

The Master Puppeteer is obviously another top choice in the books that middle schoolers read. The tale of Sabura, a Japanese Robin Hood, takes from the rich to help the exceptionally poor in the Japanese medieval time. Jiro,an understudy, gain's from the manikin expert's child (Kinshi) the exchange of both making and utilizing delightful manikins for amusement. As the hungry group hordes and the powers irately look for the genuine character of Sabura, Jiro is gotten in the center between Yoshida
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Giulia Kobia
May 13, 2015 Giulia Kobia marked it as to-read

In Japan, behind the curtains of the theater hid a mysterious thief named Saburo. This mysterious boy named Saburo stole from the rich to be able to help the pour. Yoshida, the harsh and ill-tempted master of the most famous Japanese puppet theatre, and Saburo have a connection that Jiro is going to find out even at risk of his own life. Kinshi, the master’s son, tutors Jiro throughout his learning experience of puppeteering. This was not a one time thing but Jiro dedicated his life and time to
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Ho-Jeong
The Master Puppeteer is a historical novel set in Osaka, Japan of 18th century when it is struck by starvation. Jiro, the protagonist of this story, tries to help his father making the puppets for the theatre. However, he is too clumsy that he is considered more as a hindrance than a helping hand. As Jiro gets to work in the theatre, he finds out that there is a mysterious connection between the theatre and Saburo, a thief who stoles rice from the rich and gives out what he had stolen to the poo ...more
Amani
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
Thinzar Kyaw
The curtains of the Hazana Theater hid Saburo the mysterious thief, who steals from the rich and helps the poor. While being an apprentice to Yoshida, the master of Japan’s most famous puppet theater in Hazana, Jiro is determined to find out the true self of the thief behind the mask of Saburo. Roles, morals, and the mysterious and starving society impacted Jiro as he learned puppetry in Hazana while risking his own life to discover the connection between Saburo and the theater. Along with many ...more
Dominic
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-.
Kelly Kim
The Master Puppeteer is an Asian setting novel, written by Katherine Paterson. This book on the other hand has a setting that takes place on a place in Japan. The period of this time and the setting is what hugely conflicts the protagonist and the antagonist. Also the culture greatly affected the storyline because it was because of the culture that people were making puppeteers. There were all sorts of ironies included in the novel, with the characters playing out the irony actions and events th ...more
Elzbeth
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
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Ashley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Aung
Affected by the starving society of feudal Japan, young Jiro left his puppet maker father and mother to work as an apprentice for Yoshida, the master of Japan’s most famous puppet theatre. When he encountered suspicious behaviors of his master that links to the infamous robin-hood-like thief, Saburo, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, Jiro had to risk his life trying to figure out the connecting between the thief and the theater. With many plot twists, and symbolism, Master Puppetee ...more
Jenny Fang
In Japan, inside the famous Hazana Theatre, Saburo the mysterious thief hides. He steals from the rich and aids the poor. There is a noble boy named Jiro. family struggles to earn money for a living. Because of his father’s skills of making puppets, they get few amounts of money. However, everything changed forcefully when Jiro made the decision to work at the theatre and also to live there. As the story keeps on going, Jiro noticed that there was something going on with his master, Yoshida. He ...more
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
Justin
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
Kellyn
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
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Sithu
May 13, 2015 Sithu added it
Winning the 1977 US National Book Award for Children Literature, “The Master Puppeteer” is for kids from ages 10 to 17. The story being set in Japan, this book is a historical novel with bits of mystery too. This story about a hungry puppet maker’s son who joins the theatre and a mysterious man who risks his own life to steal food and money for the poor. The mystery of this thief makes the story intriguing and the mystery goes on until the end.
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)
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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
Crazylegs830
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
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Maria Cupery
beautiful and authentic. This is what people are talking about when they say a book can truly make you experience another culture.
Brooke
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.
Josh
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
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1949
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
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“We all learn here by the honorable path of horrible mistakes.” 13 likes
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