Written by Tony Mitton
Ryo has lived in a small village where he learns to make pots with his father every day. He enjoys working alongside his father, but when he sees a stranger easily disarm three brigands, Ryo wants to become a fighter. His father is sad that Ryo wants to leave everything he knows behind but knows that if he does not let his son go then resentment would grow in their relationship. So, with a heavy heart his father gives Ryo permission to leave his village and seek out a hermit that lives on Cold Mountain to begin his training to become a fighter. With determination in every footstep, Ryo begins his journey on becoming a member of the elite fighting group-the Hidden Ones. On his journey Ryo learns the significance of adding goodness, beauty, pleasure, or happiness into the world.
Tony Mitton is an internationally acclaimed author and poet. His words are expertly used to create the feeling of a running stream, that when you take a break from the book you are stepping out of the stream. This method of writing works beautifully with his Chinese-like folktale that is filled with nuggets of wisdom that could pass for Chinese proverbs. I found it surprising that “The Potter’s Boy” ends where it began. The purpose of Ryo going on his journey was to realize that being a potter is a worthwhile career, and that it would bring him and others joy in a world that can be cruel.
This book is different from most modern children’s literature because it is not filled with useless drama or humor. Also, the Hidden Ones get slaughtered, leaving Ryo and Chou the only survivors. Initially I expected Ryo and Chou to either seek revenge or start up a new fighting school. Instead they feel lost and their purpose taken from them and decide to set a new course in life. This reflects a reality in life that one’s future is not set in stone and can change unexpectedly. It is a beautiful story about finding happiness in what you do, regardless of how skilled you become. Mostly likely it will not become the most popular book in your library, but worthwhile to add in your collection.
Reviewed by LeeAnne Grover, Media Clerk, Hillside Elementary
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-10
Author Website: http://www.tonymitton.co.uk/
The Potter’s Boy
Written by Tony Mitton
David Fickling Books/Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: February 26, 2019 (USA)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.