The Night Parade

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Night Parade Book Poster Image
Gentle fantasy spotlights Japanese mythology.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Night Parade offers a glimpse into Japanese mythology and religious traditions.

Positive Messages

Family traditions are important. Doing something on a dare can have unexpected consequences. It requires courage to become the master of one's own fate, but the task is possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

At the start of The Night Parade, Saki seems spoiled and petulant, complaining about the lack of cell phone reception and having to leave her friends in Tokyo. She's also dismissive of her grandmother's spiritual and family traditions. Over the course of the novel, she learns to value ancient ways and open herself to making new friendships with people who truly care about her.


Saki faces ogres, giant insects with weapons, and other assorted monsters and spirits. Although they might threaten violence, the spirits rarely follow through with it.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byPink gem September 14, 2017


This is seriously horrifying. I don't really know why, but this gave me nightmares...
Teen, 13 years old Written byJohnMor December 25, 2017

Really Good

I put 10 above because I agree that it can cause some nightmares due to the ogres and that. But I can tell you that this has educational values that can be real... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and Asian stories

Themes & Topics

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