Ping-Li's Kite

Ping-Li's Kite

by Sanne Te Loo, Handprint
     
 

Ping-Li is riveted by the fantastical shapes that streak across the sky above a city park. He will make his own kite, he decides, and it will be better than all the rest. He goes to Mr. Fo to buy the supplies, and the man tells him that he must paint his kite — "or the emperor of the sky will be angry." But on the way home, the boy cannot resist

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Overview

Ping-Li is riveted by the fantastical shapes that streak across the sky above a city park. He will make his own kite, he decides, and it will be better than all the rest. He goes to Mr. Fo to buy the supplies, and the man tells him that he must paint his kite — "or the emperor of the sky will be angry." But on the way home, the boy cannot resist flying his unpainted kite, and incurs the wrath of the emperor. Then Ping-Li's only recourse is to paint the most beautiful kite he can.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Mr. Fo, the shopkeeper, warned Ping-Li to paint his hand-made kite before he flew it. But Ping Li, who wanted his kite to fly the highest and be the boldest, was too impatient. So while flying his new kite and dreaming of greatness, his plain creation was plucked from the air by the emperor of the sky. Ping-li was commanded aboard the cloud-encased dragonship and ordered to make his kite better than all the beautiful kites on the ship. Vibrant paintings capture the magical story, a retelling of a classic Chinese folk tale. Simple text will make this easy to share with very young audiences who are sure to believe that there is indeed magic in the sky. 2002, Front Street/Lemniscaat, $15.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Laura Hummel AGES: 3 4 5 6
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This insubstantial dream adventure begins in a generic contemporary Chinese town, when schoolboy Ping-Li buys paper, sticks, and string to build a kite. Although he's been warned not to, he launches it unpainted and falls asleep while it is airborne. He dreams that the emperor of the sky summons him to his flying dragonship and commands him to change his kite from boring white to extraordinary. The emperor, wearing a flowing Fu Manchu mustache, is guarded by helmeted bowmen and accompanied by young girls in a kind of dreamland Qing Dynasty court. Ping-Li decorates his kite with the emperor's portrait; the last picture shows him flying it in the modern world. The jacket flap calls this story a "retelling of a classic Chinese folk tale," but no source is given, and the art and text assemble standard Western images of exotic China. Te Loo's paintings on textured canvas amplify the brief text. Colors are muted, and the figures seem static and disengaged. Valerie Reddix's Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon (Lothrop, 1992), also about a small Chinese boy's kite dreams, is far richer in authentic context and character development, and Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama's Mei-Mei Loves the Morning (Albert Whitman, 1999) is a more accurate depiction of Chinese city life.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Picture book newcomer te Loo retells a classic Chinese tale about a boy who decides to build the ultimate kite. But when his efforts draw the attention of the emperor, it's for all the wrong reasons. In the opening, a framed vignette shows the boy rushing off on his red bicycle, on his way "to Mr. Fo's shop for paper, sticks, and string." A double-page spread shows him looking up from the darkened workshop to the light-filled ceiling, where more than a dozen kites are on display. For his part, Mr. Fo issues a warning: "you must paint your kite before you fly it or the emperor of the sky will be angry." But Ping-Li doesn't listen. After crafting his kite on the steps of the temple, he rides home with it fluttering from the back of his bicycle. In the park, Ping-Li ties the kite to his knee and lets it fly free as he sleeps. Above him, a dragon-shaped cloud foreshadows the pivotal encounter: the emperor, aboard his dragonship, reaches down and "pluck[s] the kite from the air." A sinuous ladder unfurls from the cloudy ship and Ping-Li climbs into the sky. There, he sees the finest of kites. "You must make your kite better than all the kites in my ship," the emperor tells Ping-Li. And Ping-Li does—he paints his kite in the image of the emperor. With spare text and evocative illustration this handsome volume, first published in the Netherlands, will find an easy fit on the multicultural bookshelf. (Folktale. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781886910751
Publisher:
Lemniscaat USA
Publication date:
02/28/1998
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

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