A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Night Parade is a stand-alone fantasy novel set in the Japanese countryside, where Saki Yamamoto encounters magical creatures from the spirit world. The book emphasizes the importance of family and ancient traditions. Violence is limited mostly to threats from ogres, a witch, giant insects, and other monsters.
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What's the story?
Saki Yamamoto resents having to leave her friends in Tokyo to spend her family vacation at her grandmother's distant village. She's bored with the old, traditional ceremonies and misses good cell phone reception. When some troublemaking local kids dare her to disrespect a shrine and ring a sacred bell, Saki invokes a death curse -- and then has only three nights to undo it. She will have to depend on three mysterious spirit guides to save herself and her family.
Is it any good?
More contemplative than many modern fantasies, this middle-grade novel ably evokes Japanese mythology and Shinto traditions. Some readers may find it hard to warm up to Saki Yamamoto, the self-centered main character, but as she matures over the course of her three-day quest, readers will come to root for her.
Author Kathryn Tanquary keeps the plot moving by introducing interesting new characters -- a four-tailed fox, a bird-like creature called a tengu, and a "raccoon/dog" tanuki -- at regular intervals. Some of the lessons learned are a little obvious, but Tanquary uses a lighter touch to resolve some of the conflicts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why tradition is so important. What kinds of rituals do you follow in your own family to remember those who have passed away?
What do you think of the author's mix of fantasy, Japanese mythology, and Shinto religion? Do you like books that explore traditions different from your own? Which others have you read?
What are good ways to make friends in new settings? What behaviors promote friendship among strangers?
- Author: Kathryn Tanquary
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
- Publication date: January 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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