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M. Hughes

The Kootenays, BC Canada
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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-04

Unique historical section; great story!

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.

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful