Tree-ear an orphan lives under a bridge with his friend Crane-man in a village famous for its celadon pottery. Circumstances find Tree-ear working for Min, the most talented potter in the village, his greatest desire is to learn to make a vase on the potter's wheel.
Another potter in the village, although not as talented as Min, develops a new technique of inlay on his pots and earns himself a royal commission. The story is of the struggle of Tree-ear to learn about pottery and himself. While spying on the competition Tree-ear learns the secret of the inlay work. Crane-man advises Tree-ear that he can reveal the secrets of this new technique only if he learned it with out guile or if the creator reveals it himself. Tree-ear is forced to remain silent even though Min, his mentor, is placed at a disadvantage when the royal emissary comes to visit the village.
In the end Tree-ear volunteers to take a new vase, including the new technique, to the royal court for Min. His journey teaches Tree-ear of bravery and of the value of being true to oneself.
An enjoyable read from the children's department.
Michele, Children's Librarian