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A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
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's review
Apr 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: grades-4-7, historical-fiction, multicultural-world-lit
Read in July, 2009

This book offers one small treasure after another, with fascinating details of the Korean countryside, Korean society and poverty in the 12th century, and the intricate skills required to create Celadon pottery. Park expresses emotions with simple observations, and leaves the reader to feel the love between the characters, especially Tree-Ear and Crane-Man.

The action builds as Tree-Ear gains responsibility. Eventually he must journey to the royal court, to deliver his master’s greatest creations for inspection. Here the story weakens a bit. The climactic scenes seem extreme, predictable, and abrupt. And there’s one huge question that left me wondering – how could master and apprentice seem to ignore what happens on the journey?

There are a few other hard-to-believe circumstances, but Park adds a helpful final note to explain how the storyline fits into the historical context: one more plus in a near-perfect work of art.

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