Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Potter's Perfect Piece

The Potter's Perfect Piece is a wonderful story about life. Written by Kenneth Metzger, this book follows a piece of clay as it is shaped by the potter. At first, the clay is upset that he has been taken from his comfortable shelf. But then, as the old man begins to massage him and soften him, the clay starts to feel more relaxed. That is, until the spinning starts. Then the pinching and molding and finally the fire. The little piece of clay believes his life is over. He can't take much more and so surrenders completely. The potter carefully paints his new creation before presenting it to the King as a gift for his birthday.

When the clay passes a mirror, he now sees himself as a beautiful teacup. He can hardly believe his eyes. "I guess all of that trouble was worth it after all. Look how much I've changed."

The King is thrilled with the gift. He lovingly whispers to the little teacup: "I am truly sorry you had to suffer so much, my friend. You see, it was the only way to change you. Oh my beautiful one-of-a-kind ... you were never intended to be just an ordinary piece of clay."

The author includes a "Discussion Page" at the back of the book to explain the symbolism in the story: the clay represents us; the old man represents life; the King represents God. The author also gives the Gospel message and Scripture on a "Final Thoughts" page.

The illustrations by Denise Armstrong are a mix of old world style and modern whimsy. They're delightful.

What I Like: The story is great. Too often we think, if God loves us, life should be good and easy and comfortable. This book offers a nice reminder of why we encounter troubles. My kids clearly identified with the clay. They were so worried for him when they saw the fire coming! The author does a great job personifying this character. The dialog is cute, definitely drawing kids into the story.

What I Dislike: The metaphor gets confused in a couple spots and the focus isn't terribly clear at the beginning of the book. Also, I think $20 is too much to pay for a children's book.

Overall Rating: Upper side of Good.

Age Appeal: Amazon says 9-12, but I would say 4-8

Publisher Info: WinePress Publishers, 2007; ISBN: 1579218768; Hardback; $19.99

Buy it Now at for $16.99!
Or buy it at Amazon for $15.59.

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