But other winds swirl about Haoyou, winds of revenge and deceit and greed. And no matter how high he flies, there is always greedy Uncle Bo, holding him like an anchor, waiting to drag him down.
A breathtaking historical novel from two time Whitbread Prize winner Geraldine McCaughrean.
©2002 Geraldine McCaughrean; (P)2004 Full Cast Audio
"With her exuberant, nonstop plotting and supremely colorful setting, McCaughrean grabs hold of readers' imaginations and doesn't let go." (Publishers Weekly)
"McCaughrean fully immerses her memorable characters in the culture and lore of the ancient Chinese and Mongols, which make this not only a solid adventure story but also a window to a fascinating time and place rarely used as a background in children's fiction." (Booklist)
Set in China under Mongol rule this is the story of a young boy who leaves home after his father dies, to support his family by flying on a giant kite in a circus. Nasty Uncle Bo is always wanting his paws on the boy's money, and when the circus is asked to perform for the Khan, an old oath the circus master has sworn raises the spectre of murder and political intrigue. The book compellingly evokes this unusual historical/cultural setting and raises many themes and issues (freedom vs. obedience, respect vs. truth, prejudice, etc.) while the plot remains simple enough for sophisticated listeners as young as 5 or 6. Peak appeal for this book is probably about age 10-11, but the adults in our family really liked it as well.
While the narration is for the most part well done, we all found the voice of the young protaganist in this full-cast version to be two-dimensional and rather intrusively amateurish. That's the only complaint about what is otherwise an excellent rendition of a unique and compelling book.
We got this for our GATE 3rd grader for a 1000 mile trip. It was our first Audible.com book. We ran out of the public library's books on tape for kids. Excellent cultural color and mature themes of blind obedience, fate, honor, love, etc. My son thought some parts were enthralling, but a bit intense (for his 8 years). He has since picked up her other books in print and has ploughed through with enthusiasm.
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