***The Kite Rider
by Geraldine McCaughrean
Reviewed February 17, 2003.
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2002. First published in
England, 2001. 272 pages.
Winner of the Bronze Medal, 2001 Nestle Smarties Book Prize.
The Kite Rider
opens with the death of young Haoyou’s father.
He is forced to ride the Wind Tester kite flown to determine if his ship’s
voyage will be lucky. He dies of a heart attack. Haoyou is
sure that this death is the fault of the first mate, Di Chou, and so is
horrified when Di Chou asks his uncle Bo for permission to marry Haoyou’s
Haoyou gets the help of his cousin in trying to stop Di Chou.
One thing leads to another, and Haoyou ends up joining a circus with an
act of flying into the sky on a giant kite. The circus leader is
kind and compassionate, but he has a hidden reason for wanting to perform
for Kublai Khan, the Mongol ruler of China.
This story is an adventure yarn that never gets predictable.
The setting of medieval China is presented in a believable, interesting
way. It’s the sort of book that makes you lose track of time as you
read, since there’s always some new suspenseful situation that keeps you
Review of another book by Geraldine McCaughrean:
Gilgamesh the Hero
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.
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