A rousing narrative by Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet and his wife, Elspeth Graham, with atmospheric illustrations by acclaimed artist Patrick Benson.
Yazul loves making kites with his grandfather, but all he truly desires is the approval of his father. Yazul’s father, lord of a han along the Silk Road, is a man made stern by loneliness, and Yazul’s love of kite-making only seems to elicit disappointment. “Travel and trade are what matters,” his father says. But when the han is attacked by bandits, Yazul has an idea. With the help of his grandfather, he might just be able to use his kite-making skills to scare the bandits away and save the han. Will Yazul’s courage and cleverness make his father proud?
The relationship between Yazul and Grandfather radiates warmth and true delight… Benson’s pen-and-watercolor illustrations bring out the complexities of Yazul’s relationships, from Grandfather’s bold colors to simple, sepia-toned lines for Yazul’s father. A treasured broken dish showing the history of Yazul’s ancestors draws readers in with its poignant shards.This dazzling, heartwarming story excites, soars and redefines "go fly a kite." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This rich, engaging story is a welcome addition to historical fiction, introducing life along the Silk Road. … The writing is wonderfully descriptive, creating a realistic setting, a quick-moving plot, and sympathetic characters with minimal text. Throughout the book, watercolor illustrations perfectly complement the action while providing additional plot and historical details that allow readers to imagine more fully the time and place. … The uniqueness of the story and its setting make it a wonderful offering for readers looking for a far-flung, adventure-filled story. —School Library Journal
Benson’s pen-and-watercolor portraits concentrate on details of costume and culture, lingering on Yazul’s peaked boots and upturned cap. The result is an adventure that, despite its distant setting, makes it clear that Yazul is not very different from the readers of his story. —Publishers Weekly
This nicely designed and illustrated volume offers a story with broad appeal. … Created with pen and watercolor, Benson’s detailed illustrations help readers envision Yazul’s world. A well-knit story that reads aloud beautifully. —Booklist
There’s an old-fashioned flavor to this long-ago-and-far-away tale… The trickster elements of the story will intrigue readers. —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Dramatic yet subtly rendered watercolor illustrations… This vivid and emotionally resonant adventure from the husband-and-wife authors of “Cloud Tea Monkeys” reads equally well aloud or alone. —Wall Street Journal