Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2010 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Stephen Messer
ISBN: 9780375861956
Hardcover Price: $16.99

In the aptly named town of Windblowne, families live in treehouses and everyone flies a kite. Not just any kites, either, but elaborate, magical ones. The kites of Windblowne have minds of their own. It’s Oliver’s rotten luck, however, to be the only kid in town who can’t get one off the ground. His shortcoming makes him the subject of ridicule. At the book’s beginning, the annual Festival of Kites is days away, and he’s determined this year will be different.

Enter Great-uncle Gilbert. Gilbert is the most brilliant kitesmith around, a true legend. He’s also a bit of a kook. Banned from the festival for his outlandish stories and ominous prognostications, he putters around grumpily in his treehouse workshop, which is filled ceiling to floor with the most exquisite and breathtaking kites you could imagine.

Oliver hasn’t seen his uncle in years, but desperation drives him to seek kitemaking assistance from Gilbert. When he arrives at Great-uncle Gilbert’s door, however, there’s something odd about the scene. Gilbert speaks to Oliver in a strangely familiar way, as if the two had seen each other more recently than they have. Then they discover that the great oak tree in front of Gilbert’s treehouse is dying – an occurrence unheard of in Windblowne. Finally, Uncle Gilbert sends Oliver away with a mysterious warning.

Their brief meeting kicks off an imaginative adventure of night winds, parallel worlds and animate kites. There are other Olivers and other Windblownes, and there’s even another Great Uncle Gilbert, a Lord Gilbert who is pure evil. He puts hawk brains into his fighter kites and trains them to attack and capture. The energy the malicious kites command is draining the life from the oak trees in Oliver’s Windblowne and its parallel world. And since the oaks are the connector between worlds, Lord Gilbert’s evildoings in one Windblowne ultimately threatens them all.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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Random House Books for Young Readers

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