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Gr. 4-7. Twelve-year-old Kevin is shocked when Chu-mong, legendary ruler of ancient Korea, suddenly arrives with his bow and arrows in Kevin's room in Dorchester, New York. But Kevin is drawn to the brave stranger, who must return home before the Year of the Tiger ends the next day and history is changed forever. Park's A Single Shard, the 2002 Newbery Medal Book, is set in historic Korea, and her recent novel Project Mulberry (2004) is set in a contemporary Chicago suburb. This time she weaves together past and present. Although she works in too much informational content into the story--Korean history, math, folklore, the Chinese Zodiac, and more--the time travel in reverse is fun, especially Kevin's attempts to explain computers, cars, telephones, and zoos to the bewildered ruler. At the same time, the cool teen who "couldn't care less about his heritage" does learn to respect the old ways, and readers caught up in the adventure will want to find out more about the culture; Park's notes at the end of the book will help. Children who liked Grace Lin's The Year of the Dog (2006) about a Taiwanese girl, and are ready for a more difficult story, might enjoy this novel as well. Hazel Rochman
Copyright ÃÂ© American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Linda Sue Park is the author of A Single Shard, winner of the Newbery Award. She has also written Project Mulberry, When My Name Was Keoko, The Kite Fighters, and Seesaw Girl. She lives with her family in Rochester, New York.
Park's (A Single Shard) novel, set in 1999, is part history lesson, part martial arts adventure; it begins with a rather shaky premise but quickly pulls in readers. Twelve-year-old Kevin, a Korean-American math whiz who dislikes social studies ("Names and dates and places from ages ago. Boring, boringer, boringest"), is shocked to discover an arrow-and the archer who took its aim-in his bedroom one afternoon. The intruder identifies himself as "Koh Chu-mong, Skillful Archer," and Kevin nicknames him "Archie." A search on the Internet reveals that Archie was born in 55 B.C. and founded the Koguryo kingdom (now Korea); he explains his chronological detour to Kevin: "I lost my balance, fell off the tiger, and landed here." Kevin raises the same questions that readers may have ("Fell off a tiger? Who was this guy?"). But the logistics soon take a back seat to Kevin's breakneck mission to discover enough details about Archie to return the king to his own place and time. Along the way, popular folktales about this Korean hero come to light, and a credible friendship grows between man and boy. The conclusion wraps hastily, and supporting characters, including a museum curator and Kevin's parents come off sketchily. But the relationship between Kevin and Archie, and their race against the clock (with the Chinese Zodiac and Kevin's math skills both playing a part) to set things right will keep the pages turning. Ages 9-13. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-7-Park weaves Korean history and lore into a time-travel fantasy. Sixth-grader Kevin is home alone in Dorchester, NY, when an arrow flies through the air, pinning his baseball cap to the wall. Imagine his surprise to find a man claiming to be Koh Chu-mong, the Great Archer from a Korean kingdom in the first century B.C., in his bedroom. Archer claims to have fallen off the tiger he was riding, and has somehow landed in Kevin's bedroom. Much humor comes from the clash of the ancient and the modern. Archer is amazed and at times frightened by cars (surely powered by dragons), telephones, the computer, lights, and even a bed. Kevin, the grandson of Korean immigrants, is an ordinary kid, bored by school, especially history class. He feels that he is very different from his father, a programmer at a local university who loves math and precision. However, the need to get Archer back in time makes Kevin step up to the challenge. He takes the man to the local museum, but that idea doesn't help. A suspenseful trip to the zoo to see the tiger seems promising, but that tiger is from India, not Korea. During their wanderings around town, Archer tells wonderful stories of Korean history and legend. Finally, Kevin uses all his powers of reasoning and deduction to find the solution to Archer's quest to return home. In the process, the boy learns that ordinary people can do extraordinary deeds and comes to appreciate his dad. Although perhaps not as great as previous, award-winning books by this author, this tender title is still most worthy of attention.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
..."an exciting novel for male readers, both reluctant and engaged." KIRKUS REVIEWS "the relationship between Kevin and Archie, and their race against the clock...will keep the pages turning." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY "An exciting novel for male readers, both reluctant and engaged." "The relationship between Kevin and Archie, and their race against the clock...will keep the pages turning."