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by Linda Sue Park & illustrated by Julie Downing

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-13337-2
Publisher: Clarion

Drawing once again on her heritage, Newbery Medalist Park tells a tale rooted in the history of Korea. Centuries ago—and through the 19th century—the lighting of fires apprised the king of the safety of his country. Darkness warned of trouble. When Sang-hee’s father is injured, Sang-hee must climb the mountain with the brass pot of hot coals to start the fire that signals all is well. The first night Sang-hee contemplates whether or not he should light the fire—after all, if he does not, the soldiers will come and he would like to see the soldiers just once. In the end both Sang-hee and his father are proud that Sang-hee has become a trustworthy fire-starter as his father and grandfather were before him. Even in the darkness the watercolor illustrations glow with vibrancy. The cover illustration is especially striking: Sang-hee bright-eyed at the orange-and-yellow fire flickering before him. A lovely telling that will bring readers back to read or hear this story one more time. (Picture book. 5-9)