A neighbor’s soaring, swooping fish kite touches off a sharp conflict between desire and conscience in a young girl.
To a spare narrative that requires reading between the lines to catch the emotional nuances, Bentley pairs two pale-skinned children with windblown hair amid dizzyingly vertiginous hills and perspectives that evoke a kite’s sudden, darting dance across the sky. Catching sight of the yellow kite one day, black-haired Daisy follows its string to a brown-haired boy named William, who teaches her how to make it dive and zoom. But rather than give it back afterward, Daisy runs home and hides it in her room. Days pass, though, before she can bring herself to fly it…and when at last she does, she sees William watching. After a sleepless night she leaves it at his gate with an apology. Later she sees the kite in the sky again, and here comes William—with a box of materials to make another kite. “Then they run to the hill,” Holmes concludes. “Blue sky, yellow kite, red kite dancing.” Bentley’s full-bleed paintings, created with pencil and watercolor and then composed in Photoshop, revel in the freedom of the out-of-doors.
Conscience wins out, in the end, as does the willingness to forgive that waging peace requires. (Picture book. 6-9)