In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea's young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition--an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys' father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family's honor is best left in Young-sup's hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-When Young-sup holds a kite in
his hand, he knows exactly how to make it fly. His older brother, Kee-sup,
struggles to launch his kite, but he knows exactly how to construct one that is
beautiful in form and perfectly balanced. One day, the young king of Korea
suddenly arrives with all of his attendants on the hillside where the brothers
are playing with their matching tiger kites. He requests their help in learning
to fly one, and then asks Kee-sup to make a kite for him. The boy is deeply
honored and works diligently on it, a dragon flecked with real gold paint.
Meanwhile, Young-sup is determined to win the kite-fighting competition at the
New Year's festival. He practices on the hillside where the king frequently
joins him, and their growing friendship leads to an interesting collaboration
and a thorny challenge to tradition in Korea in 1473. The final contest, in
which Young-sup flies for the king, is riveting. Though the story is set in
medieval times, the brothers have many of the same issues facing siblings today.
They play and argue, they compete for their father's attention, and eventually
develop a greater understanding of one another. The author has drawn her
characters with a sure touch, creating two very different boys struggling to
figure out who they are. With ease and grace, Park brings these long-ago
children to life. Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA