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The Rainbow Kite

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Cavendish Square Publishing, 09/01/2002, Hardcover, Brand New! Like New dust jacket.

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Editorial Reviews

Sixth-grader Matthew watches his eighth-grade brother, Bennett, self-destruct for two years after burying Frankie, Bennett's canine confidante. Although "stick with it!... is Dad's motto," Bennett drops activity after activity, and his friends fall away. When his father insists that he attend a final swim meet before quitting, Bennett stops cold in the water, losing the meet for his team. Matthew, watching mystified, is glad when Jeremy appears, bringing kite building and laughter into Bennett's life. When the newspaper reports a hate crime for homosexuality against a swimmer from another town, Dad reacts with empathy and derision. Matthew puzzles, "Gay women are like Gretchen and Valerie, the two ladies who live on the corner of our block," who are accepted. Witnessing Bennett's multiple humiliations at school, none of which are reported home, Matthew slowly realizes that his brother is gay. Pleased, the family observes as Bennett and Jeremy build a huge rainbow kite to fly at eighth-grade graduation, until their home is defaced, the project is revealed as a "fag flag," and Jeremy is forbidden to see Bennett. Dad's embarrassment leads to inaction beyond painting over the "FAGGOT" (during a late-night rainstorm) until Gretchen and Valerie intervene. The family sees their own hate-crime headline. The ending unfolds rapidly as the boys hear Dad crying at night. Bennett seeks to alleviate family shame through attempted suicide and ultimately graduates sans flag but with supportive peers. Bennett's story is satisfying and especially appropriate for middle-grade reading, classroom discussion, and young adult library shelves. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasionallapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Marshall Cavendish, 205p,
— Cynthia Winfield
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Related from his younger brother's point of view, this painful story tells of lonely, "irregular" Bennett, 15, who endures the daily taunts of school bullies and the repeated lectures of his disappointed father. When he actually makes friends with a new neighbor, Jeremy, and they hatch a plan to make and fly a giant kite over their eighth-grade graduation, the family is ecstatic. But on the night of the rainbow kite's unveiling, Bennett's world explodes when a gang commits a homophobic hate crime. Dad reacts with shame and denial, Jeremy is forbidden to see Bennett, and Bennett responds by releasing his "fag flag" to the sky and jumping off a bridge. Fortunately, he is rescued, but rumors soon spread. The teen refuses to speak to anyone or attend his graduation until lesbian neighbors save the day with the perfect graduation gift-an orphaned puppy, Leonardo, who is different because he has six toes. When Bennett's name is called at the ceremony, the audience bursts into applause, Jeremy and schoolmates take off their caps to reveal rainbow-colored hair, and the principal hugs Bennett, apologizing for the torment he has endured. Dad is suddenly proud, talking about a gay Leonardo da Vinci, and everyone is all smiles. This is a happy but unconvincing ending for an often heart-wrenching story. Although for a slightly older audience, Alex Sanchez's Rainbow Boys (S & S, 2001) is a more realistic look at the struggles of coming out.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761451228
  • Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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