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by Linda Sue Park

Pub Date: March 20th, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-94041-9
Publisher: Clarion Books

Kite making and flying strengthens the bond between two brothers, and earns them a royal friend to boot, in this perceptive tale set in 15th century Korea. The fighter kites that 14-year-old Kee-sup builds and decorates are splendid, but it's his younger brother Young-sup who has the innate gift for flying them. Nonetheless, when the boy king himself asks Kee-sup to create a special kite and Youngsup to fly it in the upcoming New Year's kite competition, to Young-sup's outrage their father decides that it's Kee-sup's place as first born to be the flier, despite his lack of aptitude. Park (Seesaw Girl, 1999) tucks traditional Korean customs and values into the story at every turn, while giving each of her young characters a distinct, complementary set of abilities and inclinations; it is only because everyone from the king on down helps, directly or indirectly, that Young-sup is, in the end, allowed to fly the kite His victory comes as no foregone conclusion either, but only after a series of hard-fought rounds. Readers will enjoy watching these engaging characters find ways of overcoming webs of social and cultural constraints to achieve a common goal, and the author expresses the pleasures of creating and flying kites—“A few sticks, a little paper, some string. And the wind. Kite magic`—with contagious enthusiasm. (Fiction. 911)