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Children's LiteratureBack in New York City's Chinatown in the 1920's young Henry's favorite occupation is flying kites. He and his friends help Grandfather Chin, who makes the most spectacular kites and flies them wonderfully. Unfortunately, a group of Italian kids led by Tony Guglione keeps throwing rocks at the kites. One day Henry and his friends decide to confront Tony and his gang in the park. They then discover that the Italian kids are throwing stones because the kites are frightening their homing pigeons. When they finally understand each other, they decide to fly kites in the morning and pigeons in the afternoon, and there is peace in the neighborhood. Low's textured naturalistic paintings set the urban stage with apartment buildings and the rooftops which are the launch sites for the series of gorgeous kites. These creations dominate the story; the people play supporting roles. We are impressed by Grandfather Chin's ability while being emotionally moved by the drama of the cultural conflict. The lesson of their cooperation is one that would be helpful today. There is a note on the real person who was the model for Grandfather Chin. 2004, Philomel Books/Putnam Young Readers Group, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz