The Master Puppeteer

Katherine Paterson is the author of the well-known book Bridge to Terabithia, which has also been made into a movie.  In The Master Puppeteer, Paterson takes readers to ancient Japan in days when chaos reigned.

Jiro is the only son of a puppet-maker, but longs to be a puppeteer for the great Yoshida.  He feels detached from his family because of an earlier tragedy he cannot remember.  Jiro eventually realizes his dream, and immerses himself in the life of Yoshida’s theatre.

But questions continue to haunt him – about his responsibility to his parents, about the identity of the infamous bandit Saburo who robs from the rich to help the poor, and about mysterious events at the theatre.

Jiro’s story has plenty of action for boys, including rioting peasants, a huge fire, and secret missions.  In addition, Paterson accurately depicts the expectations of Japanese society and the elaborate puppet productions – a great way to learn about Japanese history & culture.

When I was reading it to my older two children, their constant cry was, “One more chapter, Mom!  More, more, more!”  We highly recommend it.

Recommended for ages 9 and up.

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