The Clay Marble

The Clay Marble

4.5 11
by Minfong Ho
     
 

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While fleeing war-torn Cambodia in 1980, 12-year-old Dara, her mother, and her older brother set up a makeshift home in a refugee settlement. When fighting erupts, Dara finds herself separated from her family.

Overview

While fleeing war-torn Cambodia in 1980, 12-year-old Dara, her mother, and her older brother set up a makeshift home in a refugee settlement. When fighting erupts, Dara finds herself separated from her family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dara's is one of the thousands of Cambodian families separated or destroyed by war, but there is hope as she and her brother and mother head for a refugee camp on the Thailand border. Once safely there, Dara makes friends with Jantu, who has an almost magical touch in creating toys from mud and scraps of fabric. When the camp is bombed, Jantu makes a magic marble out of clay that helps Dara track down her family and then return to the hospital for Jantu and her brother. Like clay dolls themselves, Ho's ( Rice Without Rain ) characters seem to walk through their parts--their emotional turmoil, rather than being revealed, is simply stated. Despite a potentially compelling story and setting, this novel never comes to life. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-- After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, 12-year-old Dara, her older brother Sarun, and their mother journey to the Thai border in search of food. Here they meet the remnants of another Cambodian family, one of whose members, Jantu, becomes Dara's friend; another, Nea, falls in love with Sarun. Life is going along well until infighting among neighboring guerrilla groups forces the families to flee again. In the confusion, Dara and Jantu become separated from the main group. After many incidents, they are reunited with their families, although Jantu is shot in the process and dies soon after. Sarun, once a proud farmer, wants to join the military. Dara courageously stands up to him, and convinces him to return home with the family. The title comes from Jantu's effervescence and manual dexterity, the combination of which impresses Dara as magic. She believes a clay marble, having been invested with Jantu's magic, gives her the courage to get through her ordeals. Dara and Jantu are well drawn, but the rest of the characters are not much more than pasteboard figures. Ho excels at tropical description, evoking climate and flaura with skill. The contrasts of frantic activity and enervating inaction of refugee life are also vividly depicted. However, Dara's vocabulary when she thinks to herself does not ring true for her age; few 12-year-olds would consciously characterize themselves as ``irritable'' or others as ``glib''--certainly not illiterate 12-year-olds from rural areas. Older children might find this novel of interest for its historical milieu or slice-of-life realism, albeit from a different reality. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780780732575
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Pages:
163
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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The Clay Marble : With Connections 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book as a reading project is school. It is very interesting and a wonderful book for sixth grade readers. I would recommend this book as a book project.
Guest More than 1 year ago
DO NOT put the book down in the beging. I know it starts out slow but it will get better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it's a wonderful book that reveals the inner world of thai girls.it has interesting storyline, useful adjectives and very special points of view. good book to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the clay marble was an excellent book that really expressed some main points about life. also the characters played some very good roles in the story and were very expressive.this book was great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely remarkable!The characters have qualities that make them seem like a reality. Junta's clay marbles add magic to the novel and the descriptions are vivid. This was an awesome book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
By reading this novel I truly enjoyed the way how the author, Minfong Ho wrote the book. What I found that was really interesting in this novel is that how Sarun makes dolls and lucky magical marbles out of clay, Saun believes that her marbles give her good luck and hope, but later at the end Sarun finally realizes that she has the magical powers within herself. Personally, I am proud of Sarun because she did nope give her hope that the wars will finally end. If I was in that situation I wouldn't have that much hope like Sarun did I would think that my life is over. Other than, I am also glad that Sarun and her family survived through the tough times they had to go through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book in the world. I really like the way the author uses adjectives to describe the food. I like how she used good descriptions how the characters were feeling. I also like how created suspence!