The Daily Dagu
Geraldine McCaughrean HarperCollins 2001 271 Pages
In The Kite Rider, our main character is Houyou. A 12 year old boy who lives in the small town of Dagu near the eastern border of China by the yellow sea. He has always wanted to do something great with his live but all he knows to do is obey and be a good child. Another important character is The Great Miao. One day he arrives in Dagu and asks Houyou to be part of his jade circus as a qiqi, or a person who rides on a kite. Houyou's cousin Mipeng is probably his only friend. She helps Houyou when he need's help and travels with him on his journeys in the jade circus. Di Chou, a sailor, is very important to the plot because he is responsible for killing Houyou's dad. He is a selfish person and he killed Houyou's father so he could marry his wife.
To start the story Houyou witnesses his dad die while flying a kite. After much misery and dismay, an opportunity opens for him to help his family and make money as a qiqi in the great Miao's traveling circus. They travel through many villages performing until they get to the town of dadu, capital of the mongol leader Kublai Khan. Uncle Bo comes to watch "the phoenix" Houyou fly. After the show uncle bo attempts to take over the circus by telling the Khan that Maio is an assassin trying to kill the Khan, but the Khan spares him and in turn makes houyou come fight in the mongol army. While fighting, Houyou loses his eyesight in 1 of his eyes. When houyou gets back home sees his mom is not in very good shape, but thanks to bo Houyou lost all his money he earned while in the circus because of his false accusation. Houyou takes his mom to an abandoned house. Then he realizes that it is actually Di Chou' house and when d Chou comes back he takes all the money they still have and Houyou's mother. But while he is doing that he gets caught and is accused of stealing and they get away. After that they move out of dagu and start from scratch with houyou providing by making kites, not flying them. The family is now safe and ready to start a new life somewhere else.
In this story, the main conflict is that Houyou's family i starting to fall apart. Ever since his dad has died he has felt obligated to provide for his family. He starts to make money as a kite rider (qiqi) but but Uncle bo takes his money. He cannot make up for his dad Pei, the great sailor, dieing in front of his eyes, but he still fights to protect his family.
"A man should never go against his contence." I really think that this quote is very important to this book because it is the overall theme of this book. Once he starts to think for himself he starts to become a more independent, intelligent, and better person. He saves a little girl and free's his family because he can finally make his own thoughts. He becomes a more well rounded and mature person once he looks past obedience of his uncle and starts to trust his gut.
Overall, I think I'd give the book a 7/10. It has a very interesting plot and puts a good perspective of life in 13'th century China. The book was very interesting and had a neat set of characters but at the end it feels like the conflict never really gets resolved. Witch is weird because there is no sequel of series of books after this one. Some chapters honestly fell like fillers. If the end wasn't as bland I think I could of given it an 8 or 8.5 out of ten,but the ending is to bland that i really can't give it that score.