The foremost strength in this book is Linda Sue Park’s ability to capture the intense meaning and deep conviction behind the simplest of actions and the fewest of words. Tree-ear is an orphan who dreams of being a potter. But the path to his dream is a difficult one, filled with hard work, long hours, and no pay. Tree-ear is honored to be near such talent as Min the potter, but will his dedication and persistence be enough to overcome the tradition that the privilege of being a potter is passed from father to son?
The story of Tree-ear and his caregiver, Craneman, comes so vividly to life, that you will begin to hope they are somewhere in the world and you can shake their hands. This book has the feeling of a great legend brought back to life and it will immerse you in the Korean culture from the very beginning.
1. What if there had not been an accident with Min’s pottery? Can you write a different scene where Tree-ear could have gained the privilege of being an apprentice?
2. Watching how Min and his wife each have their own way of interacting with Tree-ear, write a dialogue that could have taken place between Min and his wife about Tree-ear.
3. How is pottery made in Korea today? What things are the same and what things have changed?
4. If you could give encouragement to Tree-ear when the work is at its most difficult, what would you say?