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In the town of Windblowne, kite flying is no hobby It s an obsession It s an art It s at the core of the identity of its quirky inhabitants People here spend all year waiting for the legendary Ye Olde Festival of Kites where they might see kites designed as enormous dragons or entire schools of fish or even carrier kites that passengers ride in And then there are the fliers These brave souls take their kites up to the crest of the mountain above Windblowne and jump, attempting to ride the fierce winds and beat a record that s stood for over fifty years.Like everyone in Windblowne, Oliver dreams of beating that record Too bad every kite he flies ends up in humiliating displays of destruction Oliver is a terrible kite flier He s an even worse kite smith He s also awkward and bumbling and delusional, swinging from being painfully aware of his limitations which are many to being wildly over confident of his perceived talents which are few He could easily be the best protagonist I ve read about in years As flawed as he is, Oliver is a deeply endearing, heroic, and hilarious character who I couldn t help but cheer for throughout this page turning adventure.While Messer has many gifts as a writer his craft is superb, his story excellently plotted, the world wildly original what really grabbed me was the humor Oliver is side splitting funny The villain Lord Gilbert who is the evil version of Oliver s Great uncle Gilbert in an alternate Windblowne kept me in stitches When this evil inventor captures Oliver, he introduces himself with I, of course, am Lord Gilbert, thought you may refer to me simply as Lord, if you wish Although perhaps you could call me Lord Great uncle, as I shall befamily to you than he ever was No, that sounds absurd Lord Gilbert will do The best authors have a unique and captivating voice Lemony Snicket Neil Gaiman Roald Dahl Messer has this sort of voice It pulls you into his weird and wonderful world It bonds you to the characters heroes and villains alike It makes you eager forof his books I know I am And I ll never be able to fly a kite again without wondering if I m about to be yanked into the sky to a world of multiple moons, mad scientists, and madcap adventures. Windblowne isn t just the title of this week s book, it s the name of the fictional town in which our story takes place Windblowne is on a mountain and the residents live in tree houses I like to imagine Endor without the Ewoks it wouldn t be the same As their name implies, the winds are plentiful in Windblowne and each year the non Ewok residents hold the Festival of Kites There are prizes to be won for events such as distance jumps in which residents leap off a peak of the mountain and fly a distance using their kite The survival rate is higher than you d think, the festival provides tourism income, and the residents compete fiercely to build the best and brightest kite Enter Oliver, who is about as skilled with his kite as the ninja is with a stunt kite He hasn t got a hope of placing in the festival and so he will forever be known as a loser But, he s got a great uncle who was a former champion kitesmith, who his parents have never mentioned before because they re crackpots Great uncle Gilbert is a bit of a crackpot himself and Oliver worries over his own sanity, which is a point of some importance as the story continues Messer never quite comes out and says here is the deal with Windblowne, and I really admire that choice Windblowne is not a real place, of course, and there are some almost magical qualities about it that Messer reveals only as they become relevant to the story There is no chapter detailing that Windblowne exists on another planet or is the home of a magical tribe forgotten by history, only subtle and some not so subtle hints along the way as to what sort of place Windblowne is For example, Messer nonchalantly drops in lines like, The two moons gleamed beyond Two moons Gory, what sort of place is this Great uncle Gilbert specializes in kites unlike any ever sold a K mart He has fighting kites and a kite with jaws to eat other kites One kite in particular befriends Oliver and becomes his traveling companion This plain crimson kite is capable of flying Oliver off to faraway landson that in a moment But first, from a craft perspective, it s fascinating to see how Messer is able to give a typically inanimate object such as a kite personality, even though it is incapable of speech Here are the kite s parts of a conversation held with Oliver, minus Oliver s lines The kite hovered warily The kite buzzed, tail lashing like a whip.The kite s sails sagged mournfully Windblowne is a wonderful adventure and you re going to love it It s a fun yarn that reminded me a bit of A Wrinkle in Time in that it s great middle grade science fiction I really can t tell you any about the book without spoiling some of the surprises If you ve read the book or you re willing to put up with a few minor spoilers, read on Otherwise, your review ends here Windblowne is one to put at the top of your reading list and make sure you come back around on Thursday to see Stephen Messer face the 7 Questions.Those of you who are okay with a few spoilers won t mind knowing that Great uncle Gilbert s plain crimson kite is capable of dragging Oliver to another version of Windblown in a parallel dimension Yes, there are multiple dimensions and multiple versions of Windblown There are beams that run through all the worlds and in the center of those beams stands a great Dark Tower in a field of roses Okay, I made that last part up, but give yourself a pat on the back if you re cool enough to be familiar with the reference from an amazing series of books for adults You have not forgotten the face of your father In another version of Windblowne is another version of Great uncle Gilbert called Lord Gilbert way better title , and he explains the situation thusly It seems that in his primitive way, he had a kind of native cleverness, and he was able to construct one of these kites he spat the word with derision in such a way that it could carry someone only someone small, such as a child across the Way Between Worlds and between Windblownes, without harming the passenger Lord Gilbert busts Oliver s crimson kite, stranding him in the new world forever to work as a slave repairing kites with another world s less likable version of Oliver Worse, Lord Gilbert has banished Great uncle Gilbert on a hell world Oliver must fight to save Great uncle Gilbert and to return to his one true home world It s gripping drama and the pages turn themselves I especially loved all of the different versions of Windblowne Oliver visits Its fun to imagine how different variables might forever change a world in another dimension Is it possible there could be a Historical Romance Ninja in a parallel dimension I could meet if only I had a magic kite That finishes out the review for everyone And now, as I do every week, I ll leave you with a few of my favorite passages from Windblowne Vivid banners fluttered in the windows, advertising special Festival discounts Oliver knew the discounts were a sham All kiteshops doubled their prices during the Festival Oliver began to pound on the door to the beat of I need a kite, I need a kite.At first he feared that even this book would not be enough to hold down the kite eater, but no matter how much it twisted and fought and snapped its jaws, it could not escape the sheer weight of The Social and Cultural History of the Lower Wayfeld Valley in Late Mid Age Macherino Oliver knew the feeling well.Oliver had always talked to his kites, but he d never had the impression that one of them might be listening Or if they were, it was only so they could do the exact opposite of whatever he asked For example, No, please, not in the tree was interpreted to mean Please dive directly into the tree, or Watch out for the crowd of people meant Smash into the crowd of people in order to humiliate me as much as possible To read an interview with author Stephen Messer or to read interviews with other authors and literary agents, log onto my blog at www.middlegradeninja.blogspot.com In this fantasy, it is Kite Festival time in Windblowne, where Oliver lives in a tree house community The most respected art and trade is kite making and a skilled kite flyer is revered Our young hero, Oliver, is a clumsy kite maker and poor kite flyer who feels like a misfit In an attempt to improve his skills, he goes in search of his long lost, eccentric master kite maker and flyer Great Uncle Gilbert He is sure he will no longer be embarrassed by his lack of talent if his uncle helps him Instead, his uncle talks nonsense of impending doom and refuses to help Oliver build a kit for the festival competition Instead, his uncle warns him to avoid some unnamed him, whoever he might be For Oliver, this just confirms that he was the only sane person in his family Soon Oliver is wrapped up in a mystery There is something terribly wrong with the trees and he suspects his uncle is trying to do something about it Before Oliver realizes it, he s talking to his Uncle s kite and the kite seems to respond This red kite exhibits a personality and emotions as Oliver develops a relationship with it The kite flies away, pulling Oliver with him and leads him on an irreversible path They travel to an alternate world where he finds a nearly identical Oliver and Great Uncle Gilbert This other Windblowne isn t quite right and this uncle, in his thirst for power, calls himself Lord Gilbert This alternate world uncle is an inventor with no respect for nature and an obsession with inventing and technology Oliver quickly realizes he must do something to save the trees in this world in order to save the trees in his home world Oliver and the red kite escape the evil uncle and find other, different Windblownes as they search for his good, Great Uncle Gilbert With his Uncle s help, he is sure there is a solution to save the trees and therefore all of the Windblowne s, too Within this cautionary tale about respecting nature, not all word choices will be familiar to young readers, but are understood with context clues Throughout the novel, Oliver grows from a child who feels he is the only one amongst all the worlds without talent to the only one with the special skills necessary to save all the Windblowne worlds Oliver is a relatable character everyone can embrace in this thought provoking adventure. People of Windblowne are always making fun of Oliver No matter how hard he tries, every kite he builds breaks apart, he has simply no luck and as it seems no talent either His last hope is his Great uncle Gilbert, but he hides something and he seems just as mad as the rest of Oliver s family Only that he isn t mad And Oliver learns it the hard way I won t comment on the plot My only statement about it is that it is magical.It felt like the wind took me with Oliver on his adventures Thanks to the utterly beautiful write style of the author I saw the oaks in front of my eyes, I heard the different voices of the wind and felt its touch It was magical, it was wonderful I loved Oliver and his talent that was indeed not making kites His talent was farbeautiful and inspiring I loved Oliver s development through the whole book I loved the fact that he underestimated himself at the beginning and grew stronger and stronger afterwards I loved the crimson kite Yes, you are reading right, I loved a kite It had a personality actually. The kite was strong and it was determined and I think it grew very close to Oliver I loved every word, every sentence of this book I loved all the characters view spoiler I loved every world the author showed hide spoiler Windblowne by Stephen Messer Kites with personalities Evil kites that hunt and maim and a beloved kite that guides, protects, and leads a boy to discover his talents and destiny Only a man who grew up flying kites in Maine and Arizona would conceive of a book in which kites fly between worlds and are harbingers of good and evil Windblowne incorporates the innocence and fantasies of every kite flying child who stands on the crest of a hill and wonders where his kite might take him but packs in worlds of meaning and nuance.Upper elementary and middle school boys and girls will enjoy this fantasy about Oliver who lives in the world of Windblowne In a community in which building and flying kites is prized, Oliver is a misfit Despite desperate attempts, his kites fail and his peers ridicule him But Oliver has an uncanny ability to listen to the winds moans, cries and whispers that blow through the massive oaks populating his world In addition, he possesses a keen sense of observation by which he creates internal navigational maps These abilities remain unappreciated until the end of the book when he realizes the truth of his Great uncle Gilbert s words, Your talents lay elsewhere Embracing his gifts enables him to accomplish farthan any of his peers Messer clearly layers the perennial struggle of good vs evil into this story When Oliver is unwittingly taken to another Windblowne world, he meets two characters which are counterparts to people he knows himself and his great uncle If I were using this novel in a classroom, I would probe students to consider the nature of these anti heroes alter egos Resultant discussions could focus on how good and evil are present in all characters both fictional and real Having just published the July issue of Talking Story on Multiple Intelligences Different Learning Styles, I have been thinking about the many different ways in which students learn and use their individual abilities I recommend Windblowne as a book that will help students who grapple with embracing their own unique learning style and gifts Kites with personalities You bet It will be a long time before I forget a crimson kite which nods, trembles, and fights for truth and justice.Happy kite flying. Okay, after reading Windblowne by Stephen Messer, now I really want to go an fly a kite I used to love flying kites as a kid in the city of Houston We would tie a lot of strings together and make out kites fly so high that you could barely see them It would take over half and hour to reel them in Other times, we used to tape razor blades yes, I know this was dangerous along the edges of out bat kites and have kite fights, shredding each other s kites Later, when I was an adult, I bought kites that you could control with two strings, and really enjoyed flying them in San Francisco Bay winds.What I really enjoyed about this book is that is was unlike any other story I have ever read Right from the first chapter, I was grabbed by the tempest of words and couldn t stop reading I just had to know if Oliver was going to save his great uncle I just had to know if Oliver was going to find a way back to his own world I just had to know if Oliver was going to somehow defeat Lord Gilbert and his hunter kites I just had to know if Oliver was going to be able to save the dying oak trees I just had to know all these things and it was going to drive me crazy until I found the answers to my questions.Windblowne is Stephen Messer s first published book and it is a winner The pace of the story gusts along at a quick pace and the characters are wonderfully developed The story is extremely intriguing and I was literally blown away with the entire experience I read the book in bed before I went to sleep at night until I practically dropped it out of my hands because I was falling asleep and didn t want to stop reading Then, I would get up early the next morning, lay in front of the heater, and read another fifty pages or so I just couldn t get enough of Windblowne.Young readers will find themselves breezing through this book as they gobble up the pages They will fall in love with the idea of traveling through the air on the tail of a kite The idea of multiple worlds with duplicate versions of the same person, usually with a slight difference, has always intrigued me I have always been interested by science fiction stories about multiple worlds, and this one is terrific.Overall, Windblowne is an excellent book that I absolutely loved I sure home that Oliver braves the Night Winds for travels to other worlds in future books With an infinite amount of worlds to visit, I am sure that there areadventures to be found.I rated this book a 9 out of 10. I m actually not sure where to begin this review I mean, so many things about this book are unique But, since a cover is what we usually see first, I ll start there Oh My Goodness It blew me away pun intended The contrast of the moonlight and the red kite amazing The boy flying over the tops of trees, two moons, just enough clouds and dark objects here and there to make it a tiny bit creepy Wow I couldn t wait to read it.It only got better from there When I opened that first page and started reading about a town named Windblowne, where everyone lives in tree houses built on limbs of luscious Oaks, where night winds often blow with gale force, I was captivated Immediately transported to this vivid world A world where kite flying is life And that means disaster for Oliver, because no matter how hard he tries, his kite never lifts off the ground With the annual kite flying festival days away, Oliver finds out he has a great uncle who was a master kite flyer years ago If only he d help Oliver build the strongest kite ever, Oliver might finally earn a little respect from the townspeople But, when Oliver manages to track Great Uncle Gilbert down, in a well hidden part of the forest, he discovers a magical secret There s not just one Windblowne There are possibly millions Each with the same map of oak trees, but with different whispers of the wind An evil Great Uncle Gilbert clone, named Lord Gilbert, is set on gaining power over all Windblowne s, but this involved taking energy from the Oaks, and in turn killing them Lord Gilbert zaps Great Uncle Gilbert to a hell world Windblownem when he tries to save the tress This sets Oliver on a quest to find his uncle, uncover the secret of the whispering winds, and discover that if kite flying isn t his talent, what is Kudos to Stephen Messer for a truly original, capitivating story This fantasy world is so rich, I actually feel the need to reread the book The clues planted along the way were surely missed the first time around But, now that I know what links the worlds, I m excited to go back and see Stephen s extraordinary ability to weave so many threads into one satisfying ending. *DOWNLOAD PDF ⇫ Windblowne ↞ A High Flying Fantasy Adventure That Will Blow Readers Away Every Kite Oliver Touches Flies Straight Into The Ground, Making Him The Laughingstock Of Windblowne With The Kite Flying Festival Only Days Away, Oliver Tracks Down His Reclusive Great Uncle Gilbert, A Former Champion With Gilbert S Help, Oliver Can Picture Himself On The Crest, Launching Into The Winds To Become One Of The Legendary Fliers Of WindblowneThen His Great Uncle Vanishes During A Battle With Mysterious Attack Kites Kites That Seem To Fly Themselves All That Remains Is His Prize Possession, A Simple Crimson Kite At Least, The Kite Seems Simple When Oliver Tries To Fly It, The Kite Lifts Him High Above The Trees When He Comes Down, The Town And All Its People Have Disappeared Suddenly The Festival Is The Last Thing On Oliver S Mind As He Is Catapulted Into A Mystery That Will Change Everything He Understands About Himself And His WorldInspired By The Work Of Diana Wynne Jones, Debut Author Stephen Messer Delivers A Fantasy Book For Boys And Girls In Which The Distance Between Realities Is Equal To The Breadth Of A Kite String A very nice read, well written and imaginative, with frequent dashes of humour and a nicely determinded protagonist I liked the blend of different genres or maybe disregard for genre limitations , as the book mixes fantasy, a bit of sci fi and pure adventure And although things like ecological responsibility, growing up, finding your talents and finding your place in the world are themes of the novel, it doesn t try to beat you around the head with a MESSAGE, for which I am very grateful.Sometimes Oliver seemed a little slow with catching up on what s happening, but younger readers or newcomers to the main idea behind the book probably won t have the same impression.I felt the ending was wrapped up a tad too quickly as I wanted to knowabout some things that happened or were revealed to have happened , but it wasn t rushed or unsatisfying on the contrary, it ended in a satisfying way with plenty of room for imagination and future possibilities for the characters Nice TheI think about it, theI like the book Recommended Edit Oh, and as a PS for Dianna Wynne Jones fans no, it s not quite like DWJ s books someone should have called Chrestomanci , it s less intricate and quirky and doesn t quite have her twinkly wit and that graceful nonchalance of weaving a story Maybe not yet It s really charming in its own way, though. I m enjoying it, but not quite loving it yet Windblowne is a very cool place where everyone lives in these tree houses up in ancient oaks Bridges connect the houses up in the air, but there is also a town on the ground below The town s fame is connected to its winds and its annual kite flying contest, and one s popularity and status in town is connected to one s ability to build and fly kites Oliver, who desperately wants to build and fly the amazing kites he imagines, just doesn t seem to have the talent and almost gives up on his dream until he discovers crazy great uncle Gilbert, a recluse who is a master kite builder, inventor, and apparently traveler between worlds Great uncle Gilbert has just been kidnapped by an evil relative from another world, and Oliver has been carried to find him by one of great uncle Gilbert s amazing kites.I ll keep you posted Okay I think I returned it to the library before finishing it, but I finally checked it out again I found the book very imaginative, and I liked the way it ended I especially liked how Great uncle Gilbert found the good and useful in each world he visited he was resourceful and excited about his discoveries and I love that