by Linda Sue Park (5th+)
Imagine that you want to be good-really good-at something. But you’re too poor to get the equimpment you need to practice. Say you feel like you could be a great basketball player, but you don’t have shoes, or access to a basketball court, or even a ball. That’s like the situation that Tree-Ear is in. He’s living in Korea, hundreds of years ago. He’s an orphan, he’s homeless, and he’s so poor that he lives under a bridge with a friend, and forages for food. But very often, he goes to hide in the trees outside Min the potter’s workshop, to watch Min at work. Min is a master. He workds slowly, but when he does finish, his work is better than anyone’s. Tree-Ear imagines, while he watches, that someday-if he could ever get clay, if her were everable to work on a potter’s wheel-he could make pottery like that. And then one day, Min is away, and Tree-Ear can’t resist going into his workshop to see the finished pieces. While Tree-Ear is busy looking at all of the pottery pieces, Master Min returns home to find him snooping about. Can things get any worse for Tree-Ear?