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A Single Shard (Newbery Medal Book) [Hardcover]

Linda Sue Park
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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School & Library Binding 10.03  
Hardcover, 23 April 2001 --  
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Audio, CD, Audiobook 10.33  

Book Description

23 April 2001 Newbery Medal Book
Tree-ear is an orphan boy in a 12th-century Korean potters’ village. When he accidentally breaks a pot, he must work for the master to pay for the damage by setting off on a difficult and dangerous journey that will change his life forever.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; Fourth Printing edition (23 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395978270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395978276
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,193,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Readers will not soon forget these characters. (Publishers Weekly )

What truly stands out are the characters...a great story. (School Library Journal )

A Single Shard is a delightful and utterly convincing account of what it feels like to make things . . . I read the novel with enormous pleasure and admiration. (Philip Pullman ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A beautifully crafted story of friendship and loyalty that won the Newbery Medal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"Eh, Tree-ear! Have you hungered well today?" Craneman called out as Tree-ear drew near the bridge. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart--warming story about ancient Korea 2 Nov 2004
"A Single Shard" by Linda Sue Park tells about a homeless boy taught how to survive by a one-legged beggar. By determination and use of his observations the boy inches closer to his dream career; a career which society says is open only to the sons of craftsmen.
The obstacles are immense. But his honesty in repaying a debt with his own physical labour reaps benefits far beyond easing his conscience.
The story starts bleakly but soon captures the reader's attention. The five main characters become mutually interdependent.
This slim story about rural life in 12th century Korea is a great read which leaves the reader wanting more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have just read this book to use in reading circles at my school. I am impressed with the book because it effectively portrays a sense of other. It is written with with a sense of timelessness and yet draws us into a time and place very different to our own. It provides insight into Korean culture and has the capacity to remind us of the traits of humility, honesty and integrity, which are all too often lost in our contemporary society. The story has a kind of elegant predictability to it, which far from making it dull connects the reader with a sense of destiny and is satisfying to read. The characters are well developed and the story contains a progressive tension that makes the narrative compelling. The postlude connects us to aspects of Korean history that the reader may have been unaware of. I would strongly recommend this book to young readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but... 17 April 2014
By Lj
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My 14 year old daughter enjoyed this book, although she thought it was a bit childish for her age. She thinks it would be good for 10 year olds ;)
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I HATE THIS BOOK 17 Mar 2008
It was so rush and it had the worst way of having crane-man die. This is among the worst books that i have ever read. It had a lot of information though. I had to read it for school and no one liked it. Do not read this book it is really bad!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  235 reviews
146 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Twist on Familiar Orphan Story 22 Jan 2002
By "50cent-haircut" - Published on Amazon.com
As a Korean person, I'm quite familiar with the orphan story tradition that exists in Korean culture and literature. When I was a kid, my parents told me they picked me up under a bridge when they wanted to chide me for some mischief, and I used to cry. It may sound strange to westerners, but the 'orphan under a bridge' is a familiar archetypal story that's been passed on through generations through oral storytelling as well as narrative ones. Korea is a country that's been through countless attacks and subjugations by other countries and empires, and the possibility that a child could suffer the plight of being an 'orphan under the bridge' strikes a particular chord of fear and pity for the Koreans.
Linda Sue Park does a fabulous job of taking this traditional Korean story module as a catalyst for a well-developed tale of triumph of a boy who shouldn't have overcome the odds but did. Placing the protagonist boy in 12th century Korea was a shrewd move, as it was the era when Korean art was deemed to be in its apex, especially its pottery. As we follow Tree Ear, the hero of the book, trying to overcome many obstacles to become the master potter, we also become aware of the rich culture and tradition of an exotic land.
It's a tribute to Ms. Park that she does this without sentimentalizing and 'orientalising' the world that she depicts. (Although I question the translation of the boy's name into 'Tree Ear', a la Amy Tan) We only get a deeply moving tale, a bildungsroman of a boy who came into his own despite the odds. It's a common story structure, but it works unfailingly through Ms. Park's convincing and inspired narrative and the previously uncharted terrain of 12th century Korea. Very well done. Get this book for your kids but steal it away from them at night when they're sleeping and read it yourself.
64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Place; Another Time 16 Jun 2002
By Timothy Haugh - Published on Amazon.com
A short time ago I wrote about how I find the Booker Prize to be one of the few awards that consistently recognizes truly excellent books. The other award that I think does as well is the Newbery Medal. As always, there is varying quality even among the winners of this award but I found this book to be one of the best of the best.
First of all, I always appreciate books that take me to places I've never been. Certainly, this story of twelfth century Korea does that. Additionally, it describes various processes of pottery-making, something else with which I was not very familiar.
Most importantly, however, this is a story filled with wonderful characters. Tree-ear is an orphan who lives beneath a bridge with an old man named Crane-man. Slowly, Tree-ear works his way into the family of a master potter, Min & his wife, by doing work which the old potter now finds difficult. Ultimately, Tree-ear is sent on a long journey to the capital with a sample of Min's work to obtain a royal commission but, when the samples are destroyed along the way, he can only take a shard of the former pottery to the commissioner.
This is a beautiful story which is well worth reading--and that includes any "adults" who might be reading this. Remember, if you can't read a "children's book" and enjoy it, then your child should probably not be reading it either.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserved the Newbery 7 Feb 2002
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
I am 12 years old, and I liked this book a lot. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. I ended up finishing it in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Even though the plot is very simple, there's a lot of messages inside of it. It is similar to the box that Tree-Ear finds that is simple on the outside, but inside it has many other boxes in a complex layout. For example, when the potter Min's wife discoveres Tree-Ear is saving the lunch he receives from her, she refils his bowl even when he hids it. When Tree-Ear finds the re-filled bowl, instead of being greedy the next day and eating the whole thing because he knows it will be refilled, he only eats half. Tree-Ear and Crane-Man don't have much, but they are thankful for the little that they do have. I think this book is a very good book for children, and I think it deserved to win the Newbery award.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ribbons - A Single Shard 29 Mar 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
There is a boy named Tree-ear who is best friends with a man named Crane-man. They together live under a bridge on the outer edge of the village near the forest where he watches master potter Min creating beautiful pieces of pottery. He wishes to become like Min and so becomes Min's apprentice. After a long time of just being apprentice, Min sends Tree-ear on a very important journey to the kings court to deliever pottery. When Tree-ear returns, he finds Crane-man has passed away and Min decides to take him in as his adoptive son. I also like this part of the book because this is when Min realizes how he really missed having a child to love and look after, after the passing on of his young son. He finally realizes that he should take in Tree-ear as his own.

I liked this book a lot because it talked of the korean culture in a way that everyone could understand. Also it struck me very deep at heart when Tree-ear, finally coming within a hairs breath of fulfilling his dreams finds out that his closest friend who helped him get there, Crane-man has passed on. I also like this book because of the great detail it goes into to describe the procedures for making pottery. This book takes you so smoothly through different emotions that you won't even know when your crying or laughing, you'll just know that your having a good time reading the book.

My favorite part of the book is when Tree-ear returns to find that Crane-man has passed on, and Master Min tells Tree-ear that Crane-man would not let go of the mini monkey he made. I think its very touching to know that even when you greatest friend and family is not forgetting you even at the verge of death and after they have passed on.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Broadway and television veteran Graeme Malcolm brings to vivid life a poignant story that reminds us of what is good and true.
His name, Tree-ear, was given to him because it was the name of a mushroom that grew without a parent seed. It is an appropriate name as Tree-ear is a young orphan in 12th century Korea. He lives with Crane-man, an elderly poor but kindly man. Their village is known for the beautiful celadon pottery created there.
In the beginning ceramics are of no interest to Tree-ear as his time is spent scavenging for food. Then one day he sees Min, a potter, at work. The boy becomes so fascinated that he later returns to inspect the pottery more closely. Unfortunately, one of the pots breaks and Tree-ear must apprentice himself to Min in order to compensate for the damage he has done.
Tree-ear works hard and Min allows him to continue to work in trade for food. Choices are made, decisions faces as the boy labors and grows. Eventually, Tree-ear's ability is recognized by a high authority, a representative of the palace.
Historical detail enriches this remarkable tale which will be enjoyed by all ages.
- Gail Cooke
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