The Potter’s Boy
Hardcover | Kindle
By Tony Mitton
Publisher: David Fickling Books | Scholastic Press
Release date: February 26, 2019
Many years ago, 12-year-old Ryo played the role of dutiful son, learning to ply his future trade as a pottery maker like his father. However, when his small village is raided by brigands and a single stranger steps forward and ends the attack, Ryo changes his mind and wants to become a warrior like the stranger.
After obtaining his father’s blessing and waiting for his 13th birthday, Ryo heads out to find the stranger and train as he did so he can protect those who cannot protect themselves. What he encounters are challenges that he never expected, but is more than willing to face.
Tony Mitton‘s The Potter’s Boy is a very simple story and one that has roots in many other stories you’ve either read in books or watched on the big screen. But the simplicity is the beauty of it. We get to watch young Ryo become a man over the next couple of years of training and learn lessons that we can apply to our own lives, even without the martial arts aspect of it.
Something else I found enjoyable is that it’s a pretty accessible story for almost any age. I’d venture that it’s pretty safe for kids down to about third grade. It’s 256 pages long, but is broken up into reasonable length chapters that could easily allow a parent and child to read it together over the course of several nights. I would, however, warn that the story does deal with death, so it wouldn’t hurt for a parent to read it first and then determine portions that might be glossed over a bit or skipped entirely.
All in all, Mitton’s story is a very solid addition to any family library or bookshelf.
Ryo was born the son of a potter, a fate that he is unsure of once a mysterious wanderer and trained fighter comes to his small village and protects them from a band of thieves. Inspired by the events, Ryo embarks on both a hero’s quest and a quest to be a hero. Through his adventures, Ryo trains in the art of both fighting and mindfulness under the elusive Hermit of Cold Mountain. On his journey, he learns the art of stillness, the body’s relationship to nature, and the art of controlling one’s emotions in order to find his path in life.
But when tragedy strikes the group, and the way of life that Ryo knows, he must use what he’s learned to do what is right for himself and his future. With excellent pacing and poetic prose, The Potter’s Boy is a story about family obligation and finding one’s purpose.