PING-LI'S KITE by Sanne te Loo


Age Range: 4 - 8
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Picture book newcomer te Loo retells a classic Chinese tale about a boy who decides to build the ultimate kite. But when his efforts draw the attention of the emperor, it's for all the wrong reasons. In the opening, a framed vignette shows the boy rushing off on his red bicycle, on his way "to Mr. Fo's shop for paper, sticks, and string." A double-page spread shows him looking up from the darkened workshop to the light-filled ceiling, where more than a dozen kites are on display. For his part, Mr. Fo issues a warning: "you must paint your kite before you fly it or the emperor of the sky will be angry." But Ping-Li doesn't listen. After crafting his kite on the steps of the temple, he rides home with it fluttering from the back of his bicycle. In the park, Ping-Li ties the kite to his knee and lets it fly free as he sleeps. Above him, a dragon-shaped cloud foreshadows the pivotal encounter: the emperor, aboard his dragonship, reaches down and "pluck[s] the kite from the air." A sinuous ladder unfurls from the cloudy ship and Ping-Li climbs into the sky. There, he sees the finest of kites. "You must make your kite better than all the kites in my ship," the emperor tells Ping-Li. And Ping-Li does—he paints his kite in the image of the emperor. With spare text and evocative illustration this handsome volume, first published in the Netherlands, will find an easy fit on the multicultural bookshelf. (Folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1886910758
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Front Street