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Showing 1-10 of 143 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 345 reviews
on October 20, 2016
I bought this because my fifth grade grand son had to read it for school and he was telling me about the story. I'm a potter—we decided to share the story. This is well written with decent character development and a clear story arc. The factual information about pottery and the making of pottery is accurate and worked gracefully into the story line. The plot involves a young boy in ancient times who is trying to find his way through life as an orphan. He stumbles upon a community of master potters and becomes interested in their processes. The boy gets hired to do chores for one of the best potters, and finds a way to help his master vie for a place on the emperor's potting commission. It's an adventure, a story about building your self esteem and your skills, and a great story about commitment to others. I recommend this YA story for any age.
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on February 22, 2013
As a parent who is thinking of this book in terms of what it would do for my son, I must say that there is quite a bit:

1. It's an interesting twist on a very old theme (the bildungsroman)
2. It has a lot of topics for further discussion
a. The history of Korea (multiple invasions, provincialism, and such);
b. A lot of good sayings to analyze and for further discussion ("Scholars read the great words of the world. But you and I must learn to read the world itself.")
c. Some good words to help build a youngster's vocabulary (spoor, celadon, lugubrious, kiln, slip)
d. Morals about life (What lesson could a child draw from Tree-ear's bad experience with the thieves and then his later good experience with the commisioner? What could a child learn about the *way* that Tree-ear went about learning the craft of pottery? What about the way that he was aware of his surroundings?)
e. Introduction of the concept of "intellectual property."

3. There is a good afterword that explains the historical context of the book (that may have been more for adults, but it was only a couple of pages long and so it wouldn't kill a reasonably intelligent child to try to read it).

4. The characterizations/ character development are very good. They are good at a level that both children AND adults can understand.

The whole book only takes about 3 hours to read (I read the whole thing in one afternoon at work while being forced to hold office hours) and the writing is so interesting that it's hard to put down.

Verdict: Worth the time. Worth the Kindle purchase price. Highly recommended.
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on June 27, 2017
We picked this for my 11 y/o boy to read for his book report (5tth grade). SO, how do you know it's an awesome book? When your 11 y/o say, when is the next book, omg this is so good, and I learned. What did you learn? I learned that it will take work and practice and studying to be good at anything.
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on May 23, 2012
My children and I just finished listening to the audio CD in the car. We truly enjoyed this story. The first chapter or two, I wasn't so sure if this story was going to be captivating or just an okay read. Well, it was more than okay - it was beautiful. So many others have written about the story-line, so I will just review the audiobook. I give the narrator, Graeme Malcolm, 5 stars as well. He did a wonderful job telling this story. His British accent was easily understood and somehow added to our being transported there. It was just perfect.

My 10-year old daughter commented that the author's descriptions of the pottery were one of her favorite parts of the story. She loved imagining the designs and the colors. That, my friends, is why we read books!
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on February 25, 2014
It seems to me that Park's books are written much like fables, with each chapter, each episode drawn with poignant but concise brush strokes. Sometimes, as with "Long Walk to Water," this doesn't work too well; there just isn't enough in whole to support full-blooded characters. Here, this writing style serves her - and all of us - excellently. As elsewhere, she dips in, she dips out. But here, with each emersion, she beautifully captures the essence of the time (so long ago!), the place (so mysterious and yet intimate), the story (plenty captivating) and most of all, the characters, especially Tree-ear. In about a hundred and fifty pages, she brings them all so fully alive and compelling. This is only one young man from a remote village on the other side of the earth, some 900 years ago. In a world where we might easily wonder if anything we ever do has any impact at all, we can see through this brief but powerful story that even in the smallest niche in time, the courage and perseverance and faith of a single person - without magic or histrionics - can truly make a difference. The story truly advances the Eastern philosophy that there are consequences to each and every act (each shard?) of man. I love this story at every level.
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on August 13, 2015
A shard is a broken piece of pottery, and the boy and his mentor are broken shards of people. However, both of them retain enough of the design to continue their lives. This is a wonderful tale of an abandoned orphan growing up with a cast aside crippled man in ancient Korea. Daily survival is a first and very difficult skill for the boy to learn, and by accident he is introduced to a passionate interest and then he inveigles his way into an apprenticeship to learn from the master. The thought-provoking interpersonal relationships among the four characters, the hard lessons of patience for the boy, the developing sense of honor and lessons learned for both young and old in this low-key adventure story make it a tale to remember.
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on July 20, 2017
Read this aloud to my 8 & 10 year old sons. Well written, a great look at 12th century Korea. Inspired my boys to want to see pottery of that era, to attempt some pottery making of their own. Led to some great conversations about humility, perseverance, and pursuing excellence and keeping one's word.
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on February 18, 2013
Author Linda Sue Park has created a wonderful, moving middle grade novel with "A Single Shard". It is truly a worthy recipient of the Newbery medal. Though the story starts out at a somewhat plodding pace, Park has such a remarkable knack with words and storytelling, she can make even the mundane become engaging. Soon enough, I was drawn into the life of protagonist Tree-ear and the strange, faraway world that he lives within (12th century Korea). Through his struggles, his hard work, and his eternal optimism, Tree-ear was a character that I quickly grew to empathize and care for. Much like "Edward Tulane" (another book I recently read), Tree-ear's long journey is truly miraculous.

Despite the long-past, foreign setting, I feel that most middle grade readers will be drawn into this story. Adults looking for a quick, interesting read will also be entertained, provided they like children's literature. To quote the novel, "There were some things that could not be molded into words", but by reading the work of Linda Sue Park, there would seem to be few things that the author cannot achieve with her gifted pen.
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on July 20, 2016
I strongly recommend everyone to read this book because of the good story. I like this story because of the main character's brave personality. Also, as a Korean, I especially liked this book because it is a realistic-fictional book about my country. I think that this book is a book for readers about the age of 9 or 10. Though this book is an easy book to understand, there is some tough vocabulary that most people wouldn't know if they weren't Korean even though there are quick definitions provided. In other words, I enjoyed this book very much.
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on June 22, 2014
I was first introduced to Linda Sue Park from reading her picture book to my son, "The Firekeepers Son". It was a great story, and meaningful. Later, we listened to her books in the 39 Clues series ("Trust No One", and "Storm Warning"). Her books are kind, and have a lot of vivid imagination. She wove in Korean culture, folk tales, art, and history in a way that made it all come alive. This book is well-researched and I love how it ties in real historical locations and objects. The characters in the book also demonstrate good values, such as friendship, caring, courage, taking responsibility. I also found one or two precious little tips how to deal with life. I suggested this book to my nine-year-old for his book report, and was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed it so much he practically finished it in three sittings.
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