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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library hardcover book with mylar jacket, usual library marks; light reader wear. Binding is slightly loose from spine.
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Windblowne Hardcover – May 25, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8—Oliver lives in the oak trees in Windblowne, a place of two moons, with his preoccupied, distant parents. The 455th annual midsummer kite-flying festival is approaching, and he would love to win, but he is unable to keep any kite in the air. He seeks out his Great-uncle Gilbert, a former champion, for help, only to see Gilbert vanish after being attacked by anthropomorphic, bladed fighting kites. With the guidance of the one simple red kite left behind, Oliver sets off to find the man. His quest takes him through time to several different Windblownes, where he meets his alter ego as well as his great-uncle's, an evil despot named Lord Gilbert. The oaks, the one constant in the perhaps thousands of different Windblowne worlds, are dying due to Lord Gilbert's using machines and wire to extricate power that will fuel time travel. His intent is to rule all the worlds and he has banished Great-uncle Gilbert to hell-world. Messer's allegorical fantasy is imaginative and contains a strong ecological message as well as the worthy theme of the importance of finding one's own unique talent. However, few characters are fully developed; too many pages are turned before what's happening is revealed; too many plot threads are left hanging, too much is left unexplained; and, despite the strong winds of Windblowne, the pace is plodding. Only very competent readers, indeed, will sort through the confusion of the worlds of Windblowne.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With easy, unforced writing, this stand-alone fantasy unfurls in the kitecentric Windblowne, a town where people live in tree houses and gale forces blow. Ostracized and lonely, Oliver loves building and flying kites, but he isn't very good at it. On the advice of his distracted parents, he sets off to find his heretofore unknown great-uncle Gilbert, a champion kitesmith and something of an Obi-Wan Kenobi character. Oliver soon discovers that Gilbert is waging a battle against evil forces set upon imprisoning him in a hell-world. Eventually, Oliver must rescue his relative and is aided by a wise and trusty kite that leads him through parallel worlds, including one in which Oliver discovers his doppelgänger, who possesses his desired kite skills but is enslaved by an evil, power-hungry lord, also called Gilbert. Although some plot elements and character motivations are undeveloped, the settings are just rich enough to support the action. Oliver's growing determination, strength, and awareness that he does, indeed, have his own special talents—and the ability to save the day—make him and his adventure very likable. Grades 4-7. --Andrew Medlar

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375861955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375861956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,551,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 silk 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 be more family to you than he ever was.
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Format: Hardcover
2010 was not a great year for fantasies. Sure, there were plenty of books that contained small fantastical elements, but titles that plunged the reader into entirely different worlds with their own set of rules and understandings? Few and far between. I blame the absence of Frances Hardinge. Fortunately for everyone there was Stephen Messer's "Windblowne" to fill an otherwise gaping void. Here you have a book that takes world building to a whole new level. And Messer isn't content to build only one world, but several, not a single one anything like our own. If sentient kites and evil twins are up your kid's alley, prepare for a soaring, diving, crazed and thoroughly enjoyable ride into a place where priorities are strictly of the air-based variety.

Oliver's a pretty easy kid to figure out. Basically he just wants one thing: to be a champion kite-smith. The kind that builds brilliant kites and wins competitions with them with ease. In Windblowne, all the kids are kite crazy and Oliver's no exception. The rub? He's probably the worst kite builder (and even worse flyer) anyone has ever laid eyes on. His talents are, as they say, in other areas. So when Oliver goes to visit his potentially crackpot Great-uncle Gilbert for kite advice, he has no idea what he'll find. He certainly doesn't expect to be attacked by nasty evil kites or to watch his uncle disappear before his eyes. He doesn't expect a special red kite of his Great-uncle's design to carry him away to other worlds where there are other Olivers and Gilberts out there with very different talents and personalities. And he certainly couldn't have expected to become the only hope for all the different worlds, slowly dying thanks to one of the evil Gilberts' schemes. Oliver has talents in other areas, all right.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
]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 far more than 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.
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