A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kiki's Delivery Service, by Eiko Kadono, is a fun, magical, and relatable adventure featuring a young witch trying to navigate during her coming-of-age year alone at 13. The original edition was published in Japan in 1985, then translated and illustrated for a U.S. edition, and adapted for the beloved 1989 animated film by Hiyao Miyazaki (released in the U.S. in 1990). This edition features a new English translation by Emily Balistrieri and anime-inspired illustrations by Yuta Onoda. There's a big focus on trust and communication here, since Kiki is so young and living on her own, and because she shoulders the burden of making sure the town accepts her as a person and doesn’t think she's evil just because she's a witch. Many of Kiki's adventures are contained within one chapter, so emerging readers will be able to tackle the longer story arc in smaller chunks.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, young Kiki is the beloved daughter of a human man and a witch, and she must choose which path to follow. She decides to be a witch because she loves to fly on her broom, and loves her black cat, Jiji. As a young witch, she must spend her coming-of-age year at 13 living away from her parents. Kiki leaves her hometown and sets out to find a place of her own, where she can be the town's witch, learn skills to keep witchcraft alive for future generations, and grow up away from her family's protective bubble. But once she's in a new home, she has to find a way to contribute to the town in a unique way to earn enough to survive. Her broom becomes the key to her livelihood, and she zips around town and over mountains to deliver some odd requests for the townspeople.
Is it any good?
There's delightfully little drama between humans and witches here -- they live among one another without fear or deception from either side, and they're a natural part of one another's lives. Kiki's Delivery Service focuses on the everyday life of a young witch whose worries and escapades are entirely relatable to young readers: fitting in, wondering about the future, going new places and trying new things. The characters are kind and goodhearted, and most adventures in the story wrap up within one chapter, making this an excellent book for readers looking to stretch their skills in small bites.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it would be like to leave home at a young age, as happens with witches in Kiki's Delivery Service. If you left home next week, what would you miss, and what would you be happy not to be near anymore?
If you've seen the animated movie Kiki's Delivery Service, how do you think the book compares? If you haven't seen it, would you like to after reading the book?
If you could fly, how would you use that abiity to improve the world, and where would you go?
Kiki is only just starting to realize that there are things she misses about home. What things would you want to learn to do or make before you leave home?
- Author: Eiko Kadono
- Illustrator: Akiko Hayashi
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: July 7, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 12
- Number of pages: 208
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: July 31, 2020
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