________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 25. . . .March 4, 2016


The Story of Kites. (Amazing Chinese Inventions).

Ying Chang Compestine. Illustrated by YongSheng Xuan.
San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2016.
36 pp., hardcover, $15.95 (US).
ISBN 978-1-59702-122-7.

Subject Headings:
Farm life-China-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4

Reviewed from F&Gs.



“Ready…set…FLY! yelled Kůai.

The boys jumped.

They flapped their wings. But they all went in one direction…down.

Kersplash! Kerplop! Kersploosh! They landed right in the middle of the rice field.

“What’s happening?” cried a farmer. “Did rocks just fall off the hill?”

“Did a chicken just fall from the sky?” asked a lady.

“Did a straw hat make that noise?” asked an old man.

The villagers quickly gathered around.


To keep the birds away from the rice fields in their village, the Kang brothers, Ting, Pan, and Kůai, improvise with feathers, chopsticks, paper until they invent kites. The boys are a bit mischievous when it comes to avoiding their chores or practicing their math, but together, they encourage one another to overcome a problem they are experiencing, in this case, hungry birds raiding the village’s food supply, by using what is readily available to them. The villagers becomes interested in their inventions as they run trial after trial, and when the family opens a kite factory in China, the villagers buy so many that the sky becomes full of “dragons, fish, flying tigers, and phoenixes”. Back material includes a one-page author’s note about the history of kites and instructions for making a diamond shaped kite out of chopsticks and paper. The simplified Chinese that appears under the English text will be of interest to bilingual families or students. This reissued book could replace the 2003 one or purchased to introduce children to the possibilities of young inventors.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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