A humorous novel for middle-grade readers--with both the pitfalls often found in a first novel and the strengths of a book written by a more seasoned writer. Elaine Chow, whose family was recently moved from San Francisco to Iowa, is very uncomfortable on her first day at her new school: she sits at the wrong desk, and the girl in front of her makes fun of her lunch. As the only Chinese-American in her class, Elaine also feels different from the other children, and one girl's pointed comments continually emphasize the differences. But with the help of a friend and the use of the ancient Chinese art of kite-making, Elaine becomes part of the class in an unusual way. A funny and believable story: Chang writes about the problems that confront any child starting a new school--being accepted by friends, liking a new school, etc. And though the story takes on a slightly didactic tone because of the emphasis on Elaine's Chinese-American background, the unusual resolution to Elaine's problem shows Chang's promise as a writer.