The Kite Rider

Introduction

The Kite Rider is an award winning[1] children's novel written by Geraldine McCaughrean.[2]

Plot

The story, set in 13th century China, concerns a boy named Gou Haoyou. His father Gou Pei, a seaman, is forced to fly on a wind-testing kite by first mate Di Chou. Gou Pei is killed, and Great-uncle Bo, the head of the Gou family, arranges for Pei's beautiful widow, Qing'an, to marry Di Chou. Haoyou and his cousin, Mipeng, get rid of Di Chou and in the process Haoyou flies on a wind testing kite. Miao Jie, who runs the Jade Circus, notices Haoyou's impressive feat, and offers him and Mipeng a position in the circus as a kite rider and Medium respectively.

Haoyou and Mipeng join the circus, and begin traveling to perform for money for their family.

Characters

Haoyou: very obedient boy, trustworthy, a good son. Mipeng: very smart, cousin of Haoyou. Qing'an: beautiful, Haoyou’s mother Pei: Haoyou’s father, killed by Di Chou. Bo: Haoyou’s uncle and leader of the Gou family. Mo: Haoyou’s aunt. Miao: Head of The Jade Circus. Di Chou: Alcoholic, mean, wants to marry Haoyou’s mother.

Summary

Haoyou is a young, obedient son, excited to finally be shown what his father does for a living as a seaman. An altercation with the first mate, Di Chou, results in Haoyou’s father being forced to be the wind tester. Pei is tied to a giant kite and sent into the sky. It's dangerous, and Gou Pei is killed, which all along was part of Di Chou's plan to get Haoyou’s mother Qing'an for himself. Di Chou burns down Haoyou's house, forcing him, Qing'an, and Haoyou’s sister Wawa move in with the head of the family, Great-Uncle Bo. Di Chou then asks Bo for Qing'an. It's advantageous to Uncle Bo to accept Di Chou's offer, so he orders Qing'an to marry Di Chou. Haoyou and Mipeng stop the marriage by making Di Chou drunk and sending him on a boat that will be gone for months. But before the captain agrees to take Di Chou, he says that they need someone to test the wind. Haoyou gets on the kite and goes into the sky. He manages to survive, and the ship leaves with the drunken Di Chou on board. A day later, a mysterious well-dressed man comes to Bo’s house and says he wants Haoyou to work for him in the circus. He had seen Haoyou riding the kite, testing the wind. Bo is furious with Haoyou, but the circus leader, the Great Miao, says he will pay. Bo quickly agrees. Haoyou asks to take cousin Mipeng with him for spiritual support (she pretends to speak with the dead), and The Great Miao takes them both. With the Jade Circus, Haoyou and Mipeng travel all around China. Haoyou becomes semi-famous and eventually rides his kite for the mighty Kublai Khan. After months of riding the kite, Haoyou’s left eye is damaged very badly, and he is now half blind. Haoyou gives Bo all of his money that he made in the circus, Bo greedily gambles it all away. Haoyou travels back to his home to find his mother and sister. Bo has forced Qing'an to work in a very low class gambling and drinking den. Haoyou frees her, and together they retrieve Wawa and return to Bo’s house. Time passes, and Mipeng and Miao (now married) came to persuade Haoyou to continue kite riding. Bo is eager for more money, but Haoyou says no. Bo begins to choke Mipeng and doesn't stop until Haoyou agrees. But late that night, after Bo is asleep, Haoyou, Mipeng, and Auntie Mo run away, back to the Jade Circus, where they work for the rest of their lives. Bo is left alone.

References
  1. ^ https://www.geraldinemccaughrean.co.uk/awards
  2. ^ "New adventures due for Peter Pan". Associated Press. 2 October 2006. 

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