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Kite by Melvin Burgess
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374342288, Hardcover)

Imagine being a boy who collects birds' eggs, and discovering that an extremely rare and endangered red kite is nesting in the woods by your own house! This is just the beginning of Taylor's story. The kite is "vermin," as far as malevolent landowner Mr. Harris is concerned, and he wants Taylor to destroy its eggs. The plot thickens, as Taylor battles his warring feelings of loyalty to his father, who must do his job to protect Mr. Harris's pheasants; respect for the beautiful bird; and desire to own the precious egg. When, through a tragedy of errors, a kite chick hatches, Taylor's feelings become even more confused.

This gripping tale is not for the faint of heart. As an environmental message, it is graphically convincing. Baby crows are dropped from the top of a tree and squashed into a pulp, lumpy kite embryos are killed and blown through pinholes in eggs, and a living adult kite is virtually crucified with a nail through her foot. Melvin Burgess's story is compelling, but his writing is surprisingly disappointing. Awkward at times with some pretty unconvincing dialogue, it's hard to imagine how Burgess slipped, especially when Kite is compared to his Carnegie Medal-winning Smack. Still, if one can get beyond the occasional clumsiness in style, it's a fascinating depiction of the British tradition of game keeping for organized "hunts," which more closely resemble slaughter. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:37 -0400)

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Although the landowner for whom his father works as a gamekeeper hates all birds of prey, Taylor and his friend raise an endangered red kite in secret.

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