Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Mercer Mayer

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7614-5054-8
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

In this moving tale from Mayer, an emperor chooses to isolate his daughter Shibumi from the squalor of the city by walling her in his palace and gardens. Inevitably, Shibumi peeks over the wall, and is horrified by the poverty she sees. She convinces a kitemaker to build a kite big enough to lift her, and then fly it and her into the air, threatening her father that she won’t come down until he cleans up the city. When her father tries to have the kitemaker killed, the winds sweep both Shibumi and the kitemaker far away. Time passes, the emperor repents and cleans up his city, but war and old age sneak up on him. He longs for the return of his daughter, and doesn’t know that a young samurai is about to make his wish come true. Mayer’s lush illustrations—computer-generated collages of paintings, fabrics, and photographs’share in the narration of the story, e.g., readers, with the emperor, see both the shadow of the kite returning with Shibumi and the samaurai, and its reflection in a nearby pond, but not the kite itself. Such visual nuances heighten the suspense of the storytelling and add a level of sophistication rare for a picture book. (Picture book. 4-8)