McCaughrean, Geraldine. The kite rider.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review - Brief Article
 
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HarperCollins, Trophy. 307p. c2001.0-06-4410919. $6.99. JS *

To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2002: I would double star this if KLIATT allowed such a thing! And it isn't even really a YA novel as we generally consider them. It's quite amazingly imaginative, exotic, and challenging--and it is in the genre of historical fiction, not fantasy. The kite rider is a 12-year-old boy, living in China in the 13th century, at the time of the Kublai Khan. His name is Haoyou. He is talented with his hands and courageous, with a generous spirit; he is also naive and immature. It isn't only Haoyou's story, however, since his older cousin Mipeng, a young woman who is brilliantly insightful, is an essential part of this novel and shares his adventures, saving him from his naivete, which often results in foolishness. The fact that his naivete rests on the Chinese philosophy of blind obedience to one's superiors and to older relatives, even if they should prove to be mean-spirited and corrupt, ups the ante of interest in the meaning of family unity and sacrifice. The book is lengthy for a children's book, over 300 pages, enough to be filled with adventures and characters, all of which are dazzling. Haoyou does ride a kite, in a harness. flying high in the sky, making money from...

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