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Archer's Quest

Archer's Quest

4.7 9
by Linda Sue Park

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In Dorchester, New York, Kevin is doing his homework when suddenly an arrow comes out of nowhere and pins his baseball cap to the wall. The man who shot the arrow claims he fell off a tiger . . . and wound up in Kevin’s room. It’s not long before Kevin realizes that the man, who calls himself Chu-mong, or Great Archer, is no ordinary burglar, but a


In Dorchester, New York, Kevin is doing his homework when suddenly an arrow comes out of nowhere and pins his baseball cap to the wall. The man who shot the arrow claims he fell off a tiger . . . and wound up in Kevin’s room. It’s not long before Kevin realizes that the man, who calls himself Chu-mong, or Great Archer, is no ordinary burglar, but a traveler from far away in both space and time.

A visit to the local museum confirms that there was a king named Chu-mong in ancient Korea who was legendary for many accomplishments, including exceptional skill with bow and arrow. Kevin knows little about his own Korean heritage, but he understands that unless Archer returns to his people and his throne, history will be changed forever. And he’s determined to help Archer go back, no matter what it takes.

Award-winning novelist Linda Sue Park has created a funny and suspenseful adventure, incorporating intriguing bits of Korean history and lore, that will captivate even reluctant readers and will add to her audience of devoted fans. Author’s note.

Editorial Reviews

Twelve-year-old Kevin is quietly doing homework when an arrow rudely interrupts his studies. The surprises escalate when this ordinary kid realizes that the offending archer is Chu-mong, an ancient Korean king who has catapulted through time, and that history will be changed unless the errant monarch can be returned the past. A believable time-travel story by a Newbery Medal winner.
Publishers Weekly

What would you do if a ruler and expert archer from ancient Korea literally crash-landed in your bedroom, bow-and-arrows in hand? That's the shocking—and ultimately illuminating as well as humorous—situation facing 12-year-old Kevin who lives in 1999 Dorchester, N.Y. Trying to untangle who the intruder really is (Koh Chu-mong), how he arrived traveling through time and how to get him back to his kingdom makes for an engaging, if not always logical tale. Luckily, Kevin's affinity for math, plus assistance from his Korean grandparents and the local library, help him put things to right. Chin does a fine job of conveying child-like curiosity, as well as the varying levels of incredulity and culture-clash facing both protagonists. His stilted, fish-out-of-water rhythm for Koh Chu-mong's dialogue early in the recording is spot-on. Ages 9-up.(Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
East meets West and ancient history meets A.D. 1999 New York in this latest offering from Linda Sue Park. Kevin feels his life is plain and boring until Koh Chu-mong, Skillful Archer, travels through time (from 55 B.C., to be exact) and arrives in Kevin's bedroom, piercing his hat with an arrow. The story follows Kevin's quest to return to his homeland of China, now called Korea. Chock full of adventure and even historical informative tidbits, this book will hold the attention of many and fills the gap of choices for those reluctant male readers, as many will identify with the main character. No violence, no drama, no mush. Kevin's character matures during the course of this story from an apathetic student to one intrigued by his heritage and desire to entrust himself, allowing him to come to the aid of a helpless foreigner in a strange new land. At first Archer's arrival seems a little far-fetched--how could he have gotten into Kevin's bedroom?--but Park's careful weaving of characters and twists somehow strengthen this fantasy, using everyday activities to return Koh Chu-mong to his rightful century. An equally delightful choice for historical fiction or sheer escape. Park will take you on a journey you could never have imagined. Following the story are charts of the Chinese Zodiac, an author's note, and the reasoning behind the math problem in discerning the element cycles. Pretty nifty! 2006, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 9 to 13.
—Elizabeth Young
Kevin, a modern American sixth grader, is surprised one night by the sudden appearance of a fully armed archer in his bedroom. After some tense minutes, he learns that the archer is Koh Chu-mong, a Korean king and folk hero from 37 BC. Realizing that he must get Chu-mong home, Kevin becomes Chu-mong's guide as they try to discover a way to accomplish their goal. Along the way, the two become friends and Kevin learns about his Korean heritage and the value of discipline and hard work. Park mixes Korean legend, Chinese astrology, and contemporary settings for a story that, while episodic, is a breezy, fun read. Although Chu-mong sometimes comes off a bit two-dimensional and didactic, he is a fascinating character. One hopes that readers will be encouraged to research the legends behind the man after being teased with the three legends that Park includes. Although the author does not shrink from putting her characters in danger, there is little doubt that they will prevail. The novel's one failing, however, is in its ending. The ultimate solution to Chu-mong's plight seems more random and stumbled upon than the result of a reasoned investigation in which the characters have engaged. Still the novel is well written and the subject will appeal to many upper elementary and lower middle school readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2006, Clarion, 176p., $16. Ages 11 to 14.
—Steven Kral
Barbara Ray
Kevin dreads his social studies homework. After all, why memorize things you will never need? As he is throwing a rubber ball against the wall, he hears a loud noise and an arrow darts through his hat, pinning it to the wall! The strange older man that appears calls himself Chu-mong and claims he is from Koguryo, now known as Korea. He says he was riding a tiger in the mountains before finding himself with Kevin in New York. Kevin and the Archer discover they were both born in the year of the Tiger. They realize there is one more day left in this year of the Tiger, and they must find a way for the Archer to get back to his country in 55 B.C. Kevin learns his heritage comes with fascinating stories and is amazed at what the Archer is able to do. Along the way the Archer tells Kevin he is successful because he keeps his eye on the goal and practices regularly. Practice is not boring; our minds can make anything interesting.
School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
This brisk time-travel yarn propels a modern 12-year-old boy into a tangle of Korean history, the Chinese Zodiac and the age-spanning skill of archery. Facing a typical latch-key Monday, Kevin is shocked by an unusual bedroom intruder: Ancient Korean leader Koh Chu-mong, (fresh from riding a tiger in 55 B.C., and conveniently conversant in charming English), lands in Dorchester, N.Y. in 1999. As he and Kevin resolve their mutual incredulity, a goal unites them: Twenty-four-year-old Chu-mong must return to the past to lead his people. The narrative, peppered with Chu-mong's expert archery, Kevin's crucial math calculations (both inaccurate and corrected) and frantic research (via a phone conversation with his grandparents and online library resources), flows swiftly to a tidy, earthy resolution. One tiny quibble: Fully a third of the novel transpires before it's revealed that Kevin was born in 1987, a fact crucial to the story's mathematical resolution. Potentially, this jars the reader expecting a wholly contemporary protagonist. Still, the satisfying feats of archery, Kevin's urgent, believable puzzling and Chu-mong's ultimate re-launch add up to an exciting novel for male readers, both reluctant and engaged. (historical notes) (Fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher

"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

"This new offering from the Newbery Medal-winning author of A SINGLE SHARD...will intrigue and amuse readers." *Starred* Review KLIATT

"Effective storytelling, middle-grade humor, and a quick pace" Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One Falling Off

Kevin ripped the page out of his notebook and crumpled it into a ball, making it as hard and tight as he could. Then he threw it straight up into the air and hit it with his open palm. Wham!
A perfect shot right into the wastebasket. The only good thing that had happened since he’d gotten home from school.
Monday was always his worst day. The weekend was over. Kevin’s parents both worked late every Monday, so the house was empty when he got home. Sometimes he liked being on his own, having the house to himself. But it was February, the bleakest part of winter, and the house felt cold, even with the heat on.
Today school had let out early—something about a half-day staff workshop—which was usually a good thing. But his best friend, Jason, had a dentist appointment and a guitar lesson, and couldn’t hang out after school. The afternoon stretched ahead of Kevin, long and dreary.
Plus it seemed like the teachers always loaded up at some kind of giant homework depot over the weekend, unpacking tons of homework every Monday. Kevin had already finished the math worksheet and answered the unit questions about ecosystems for science.
He’d saved the worst for last.
Social studies. Names and dates and places from ages ago. Boring, boringer, boringest.
It was a page of social-studies homework that was starting its new life in the wastebasket.
Kevin took off his baseball cap, scratched an itchy spot on his forehead, and pulled the cap on again. Then he saw his little rubber bouncy ball on the shelf above the desk. He picked it up and started a game of wall ball. The plunk of the ball against the wall made a steady beat. Thunk–thunk– thunk . . .
It wasn’t—thunk—that he was bad at social studies. Not anywhere—thunk—close to failing. His grades were right in the middle of the class, pretty much where they were for all his other subjects, except for math. He did better at math, although you’d never know it from the way his dad checked his homework. His dad was a genius geek-head number- nerd whiz-brain computer programmer—super good at math. He seemed to know the answer before Kevin had even finished reading the problem. Whenever his dad tried to help him with math homework, it was as if they were speaking two different languages.
Still, math made sense. When you got the answer, you knew it was right; and when you were wrong, you could figure out the mistake. But social studies? Memorizing stuff that he’d never have any use for again, and having to write out answers to those awful essay questions, where right and wrong weren’t clear. Well, no, not exactly—you could be wrong, that was for sure. But you could also be partly right or even mostly right and still get points taken off your answer.
Kevin sighed. He read the question in his social-studies book again.
“Describe the relationship between King George III and the American colonists, and how this relationship led to the Revolutionary War.” Who cares! Kevin raged silently and put a little more into his throw. THUNK. The ball thunked harder against the wall. Why doesn’t stupid King George mind his own business and leave me alone?
What difference did it make what some old king or queen had done hundreds of years ago—thunk— THUD!
The room shook, as if something heavy had fallen on the floor. Kevin missed the catch, and the ball bounced crazily around the room. He turned to see what had made the noise.
—twang— —swish— THWOCK!
“What the—?” Now he could see what had made the thwock: An arrow hitting the wall above his desk.
An arrow that had pierced his baseball cap, lifted it clean off his head, and pinned it to the wall.

An arrow?
Then he heard a man’s voice from somewhere on the other side of the room.
“Show me your hands, Strange One.” A grim voice.
“Stand—slowly—and show me your hands.” Kevin was too scared to do anything but obey. His knees were shaking as he stood up, turned toward the bed, and opened his hands in front of him. His hands were shaking, too. Stop it, he said silently. Somehow seeing them shake made him feel even more scared.
He forced himself to look toward where the voice had come from. About a quarter of a face—half a forehead and one wary eye—peeped out at him from behind the bed.
The owner of that eye was between Kevin and the door. In the next split second, about a billion thoughts ran through Kevin’s head, so fast that it was like not thinking at all.
How the heck did he get in here?—no one else home—windows closed—no good yelling—call 911! Nearest phone in Mom and Dad’s room— gotta get past him—gotta get to the door.
The man must have seen Kevin’s eyes flicker toward the door.
“My aarrow would end your life before you took a single step,” he said. “Do not even think of fleeing. And if you are armed, place your weapon on the floor. Now.” The man rose frooooom his crouch holding a bow—a genuine bow-and-arrow bow. He wasn’t aiming at anything in particular, but he was clearly ready to aim it if he had to.
If he aims it at me, I hope I don’t pee in my pants.
“N-not armed,” Kevin squeaked.
The man glared at him. “If you are lying, it will be the last lie you ever tell.” “Not lying!” Still a squeak, but a louder one.
Kevin could hardly breathe. He made himself take a lungful of air. Those cop shows on television—the victims of the crimes, lots of times they helped the police catch the criminals, didn’t they? By giving a good description. . . . Okay, concentrate. Get a good look at this guy.
Asian. Long black hair loose around his shoulders. White jacket, baggy white pants. In his twenties, maybe. Kevin realized that he didn’t usually think about adults’ ages, so he wasn’t very good at guessing. Not a teenager, but not as old as Kevin’s parents.
A burglar . . . with a bow and arrows?
Who was this guy?
They stood in silence for what was probably only a few moments, but it felt to Kevin like a few hours. What’s he going to do now?
He took another breath. Now he could see a leather strap across the man’s body, and the feathered ends of more arrows behind the man’s head. They must be in one of those holders—what was it called? A quiver. That was it.
To his surprise, he heard his own voice. “Wh—what do you want? And how did you get in here?” The man frowned. “Did you not see for yourself?” he demanded. “I lost my balance, fell off the tiger, and landed here.” Fell off a tiger?
Who was this guy?

The man kept staring at him fiercely. Definitely at least a little crazy, Kevin thought. Better not make him mad.
Kevin was still scared spitless, but somehow it felt better to talk than to stand there shaking. “Um, sorry,” Kevin said. “What happened to the tiger?” What a bizarre question . . .
For the first time, the man’s expression changed from grim to puzzled, and he glanced around the room, as if expecting to find a tiger curled up on Kevin’s pillow, maybe, or under the desk. He looked so baffled that Kevin almost felt sorry for him.
“It’s not here,” Kevin said. “I’d have noticed.” He tried to remember if his parents had ever said anything about being burgled. Let them take whatever they want, just don’t get hurt—something like that. He raised his hands a little higher. “Um, take whatever you want, okay? Can I—can I help you find something?” The man faced Kevin again. “So many questions,” he said sternly. “Have you no manners? I am the elder of us. I ask the questions, and you do not speak except to answer.” With relief, Kevin watched him take the arrow from the bow and return it to the quiver. Keep the conversation going—he seems to be calming down—maybe he’ll get sick of talking and just leave.
“I don’t mean to be rude or anything,” Kevin said, “but how would I ever learn stuff if I didn’t ask questions?” The man looked angry at first, and started to say something. He stopped, closed his mouth, and raised his eyebrows. Then he said, “Ha! True enough, Little Frog. Little Frog that croaks away without ceasing! But ask the questions in your head, and then listen. The answers and more will come to you.” Kevin shrugged. “Okay, I’ll listen. Go ahead—talk.” The frown returned. “You do not give commands, either!” the man barked. “I will speak when I wish to speak!” He turned away, took one step, then turned back again. “I wish to speak now.” Kevin would have laughed except he knew it would make the guy mad. So he tried to make his face look interested and respectful. The interested part was easy—he was dying to hear what the man had to say.
“You have the look of a Yemek, except for your strange garb,” the man began, “although you could also be Chinese. But it is clear that you are neither, because if you were, you would know who I am.” He held his head up proudly.
What the heck was a Yemek? “I’m not Chinese—I’m Korean,” Kevin said. “I mean, my grandparents are from there. But I was born here, which makes me American.” “Why do you speak? I have not asked you a question. What is ‘American’?” Boy, this guy was hard to follow. And how could he not know what “American” meant? Definitely crazy. “It means someone from America,” Kevin said. “The United States.” The man shook his head. “You are Yemek, or you are Chinese. One or the other. Which is it?” “Neither,” Kevin said. “I’m not from China, and I’m not from—from Yemek-land, either. I mean, there are about a million countries in the world— okay, maybe not a million, but at least hundreds. And one of them is the United States, and that’s where I’m from, and that’s where you are now. In New York. Dorchester, to be exact.” He knew he was babbling, but it seemed to be working—the guy still hadn’t loaded another arrow onto his bow. Was that what you did with an arrow, “loaded” it?
The man was frowning so hard that his eyebrows were nearly drawn together in a straight line. “Slower, Little Frog. What is this you are saying—that I am no longer in my own land?” “You’re in New York. It’s on the other side of the world from China. And my name is Kevin.” He was getting tired of being called “Little Frog.” That seemed to be something the man could understand easily. “Keh-bin,” he repeated with a nod. He pronounced it like two words. “I am Koh Chu-mong, Skillful Archer.” Then he looked at Kevin as if expecting something.
Kevin remembered two things almost right away. The first was that in Korea, last names came first. American-style, this guy’s name would be Chu-mong Koh. And when his grandparents met their Korean friends, they bowed to each other. The guy was waiting for Kevin to bow. So he did, and when he straightened up again, he saw that the man looked pleased.
“Ah!” he said. “I see you are not entirely uncivilized.” Gee, thanks, Kevin wanted to say, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “So, should I call you Mr. Koh?” Too late he realized he’d asked a question. But the man merely stroked his chin. “You may call me . . . ‘Skillful Archer.’” He paused for a moment. “But perhaps that is too boastful. Modesty is a virtue. ‘Archer,’ then. You may call me ‘Archer.’” “Archer,” Kevin repeated. “How about if I call you Archie?” It seemed like it would be harder to be scared of someone with a friendly name like Archie.
“Ar-chee? Why do you wish to make this change?” “It’s a name, that’s all. It’s a good name for you—Archie the Archer.” “Ar-chee,” the man said, as if trying on the name like a pair of shoes. “Does it signify great skill with the bow and arrow?” “Well, not exactly, but—” “Then it is not a suitable name. I will prove it!” Archie—Kevin couldn’t keep himself from using that name in his head—whipped the bow off his shoulder. He had it fully strung and armed with an arrow before Kevin could even move.
Archie turned toward the window that looked out over the backyard. Past the big maple tree, you could see the fence that separated the yard from the neighbors’—Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew, an older couple. A house-shaped birdfeeder, abandoned by the martins that had flown south for the winter, stood on a pole in the Pettigrews’ yard.
“Do you see that miniature house?” Archie demanded. “I will put my arrow through the hole in the center of it.” Kevin only had time to think that Mrs. Pettigrew probably wouldn’t like that very much when there was a terrible crashing sound and broken glass was flying everywhere.

Copyright © 2006 by Linda Sue Park. Reprinted by permission of Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Company.

Meet the Author

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets. For more infromation visit www.lspark.com.

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Archer's Quest 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
cpjack23 More than 1 year ago
I though that this book was amazing and absorbing. Once I first started the book I though this is just gonna be this story about a boy who finds something out and then has to solve it. I almost rejected the book when I first read it but then I moved on and I found that once the second chracter finally came in I got hooked and I kept reading the storyline is just awesome. This book was historical and a few chracters had some flashbacks to the past. I recommend this book to anyone who likes some history, fantasy and kind of a mystery type book. If you do like all those I fully do suggest you read this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Help you with what? The training?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the Ranger's Apprentice rp. You can only join if you've read the books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book right now. It is a very good book so far. My friend also read it and said it was very good. I totally reccomend this to you!
Ruslan Maystrenko More than 1 year ago
Intresting book adicting and super highly recomenden
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a name that book book. That's all I have to say.