cover image Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon

Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon

Valerie Reddix. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $14 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11030-7

Each year, Tin looks forward to Kite's Day, when he and his grandfather fly a homemade kite and, as Taiwanese custom dictates, cut it free at nightfall with the exhortation, ``Go now and carry all our misfortune away.'' This year, though, Tin's grandfather is ill and there is no new kite to fly. Convinced that the tradition could help the old man get well, Tin decides to go alone and fly his special dragon kite--the one his grandfather made when he was born, and which has always hung above his bed. It's a great sacrifice, for traditionally the kites must be burned when they fall back to earth. But this is no ordinary kite, and this is no ordinary night. When Tin cuts it loose, the kite comes to life, sweeping away with a laugh and leaving behind a grandfather restored to health. This exhilarating and touching parable tells of a boy with a generous heart, and the special magic that sometimes happens when moonlight and love conspire. Reddix's narrative unwinds as smoothly as Tin's spool of twine. Like the wind that buoys the kite, the Tsengs' meticulous, glowing watercolors--brimming with authentic detail--give wings to this uncommon picture book. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)