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Kiki's Delivery Service (A Puffin Book)

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Her approach to the situations she comes across are consistently surprising – sometimes mistakes are made; other times ingenious solutions are found. It’s doubly important to get this theme across given that this is a children’s story, where clarity of themes is vital. Another thing that’s vital is the tone and language of the book. Goro Miyazaki on making Studio Ghibli’s first CG movie: ‘I spent a lot of nights not being able to sleep’ In other words, Kiki is a girl who learns from her mistakes, from her leaps of faith, and from her yeses and her nos. Her story is not unlike that of a Pokémon trainer: at age ten a young witch must begin to decide how to spend her life.

Book Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono - U.OSU Book Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono - U.OSU

While it would be possible for this story to leave a sour taste — a witch, heavily judged and shunned, must prove to the locals that she is not, in fact, evil — instead the theme reads a little differently: local people learn from Kiki to be kind and accepting of others, especially those who are unusual. Kiki’s Delivery Service is refreshingly light and breezy in an era where many middle-grade fantasies have become elaborate operations. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that (and, indeed, some readers more used to that type of fare may find the minimal worldbuilding in Kiki a bit disappointing), but there is definitely something to be said for the gentleness of this book in a year that has seen surprisingly little of it. While the protagonist is 13, the reading level of this story is probably more appropriate for younger readers and would also make a great read-aloud, even for those who aren’t reading on their own quite yet. She’s a girl with a good moral compass. Her tenacity and her curiosity go hand-in-hand, leading her over and again into and out of trouble, with Jiji sometimes serving as her conscience and sometimes being entirely voiceless and useless — as all our consciences often are.In one chapter, for example, she must deliver a poem and a pen as birthday presents from a secret admirer. Her curiosity about the poem leads to it being lost, and so Kiki — with the help of her talking cat familiar Jiji — must find a solution to the problem she created. Growing up is not easy for a lot of people and being a teenager can be difficult. It is a time when children gain more responsibility and request more independence from their parents. This book perfectly captures this transitional time. It is hard for Kiki’s mother to send her off on her own to find her way as a witch even though she knows deep down its best for her daughter. Kiki is so excited to leave without really considering all the troubles she may run into on her own. Kiki’s eyes got big and hopeful when she arrived at her new, massive city along the coast. When she first came, many people treated her a bit differently. They treated her as an other and were afraid to get to know her. Just when she was at her lowest and felt a bit hopeless about being on her own in this city, she came up with the idea to do odd tasks and deliver things to people on her broom because she is able to get around so efficiently. And so, with a little help from a kindly baker and her husband, Kiki is able to set up a business: Kiki’s Delivery Service, where she primarily uses her broom and her power of flight to deliver and retrieve things for others. From here, she earns the trust of locals by helping them in any way that she can, and the tasks she undertakes become stranger, more hilarious, and more challenging as the book progresses.

Book Review: “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Eiko Kadono Book Review: “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Eiko Kadono

A practical girl who wakes up some days with bright ideas and hope, and others with doubt and reservations. Kiki is a three-dimensional character who follows a formulaic children’s story that avoids ever feeling tired or predictable by Kiki’s own merit. For young readers, Kiki’s Delivery Servicedelivers (sorry) a character who serves as a perfect role model. She is not perfect; Kiki’s flaws are her curiosity and her eagerness to bite off more than she can chew. But she learns and grows in a very human and not entirely smooth way.While reading this scene I remember thinking, “You’d better not mess this up, Kiki! What if these two could have ended up together forever, living happily ever after, and you ruin all of that before it begins!” So invested was I in Kiki, Jiji, and their escapades. The titular Kiki, daughter of a witch and a folklorist (a man fascinated with witch history), is a wide-eyed girl with her head in the clouds and her feet on the ground. This is what sets her apart from a lot of children protagonists: she’s very all-encompassing. Coinciding with the release of the film in the West, an English translation of the novel hit shelves in 2003. Now, however, we have a fresh new translation for 2020 by Emily Balistrieri.

The profound loneliness of Kiki’s Delivery Service - Polygon The profound loneliness of Kiki’s Delivery Service - Polygon

She doesn’t come from loneliness — she comes from a place of love and connection. She’s excited for the journey ahead, for a chance to grow up. It’s a classic coming-of-age fantasy setup. And unlike the above films, where a journey starts with loss, Kiki’s Delivery Service starts while Kiki still has something left to lose. Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 animated feature Kiki’s Delivery Service masterfully handles a lot of traditional topics around growing up and finding a path in the world. But it also touches on a facet of growing up that society tends to overlook: It’s a lonely process. Finding your way is lonely. Separating from a close family unit and making your way in a new place is lonely. Studio Ghibli films often interrogate the notion of loneliness and emotional connection, centering on heroes that reluctantly strike out on their own, such as Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle and Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke. But in Kiki’s Delivery Service, loneliness isn’t explicitly in the forefront; it slowly folds itself into Kiki’s life as the story stretches out. Even when she’s surrounded by friendly people, she’s ultimately alone. Loneliness is threaded through many Ghibli films, many of which feature protagonists who set off on a journey not because they particularly want to, but because they’re forced to. Kiki leaves home because of witch tradition, but unlike other Ghibli heroes, she jumps at the idea — even skipping a planned camping trip with her father because she’s so excited. But in Spirited Away, Chihiro is forcibly separated from her parents, and winds up in a strange spirit world. In Howl’s Moving Castle, Sophie is cursed by a witch and leaves her hat shop to trek to the Wastes. In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka ventures out from his village to seek a solution for the terrible curse consuming him. And on a less fantastical note, in Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku navigates the doldrums of adolescence.I went into this review more-or-less totally clean and with a new eye. I was taken in by the bright cover and the hope for a fresh, lively tale. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Kiki’s Delivery Service, well, delivers. By the end of their movies, the characters have found connections with others, but because we know the depth of their original loneliness, these relationships take on more meaning. They aren’t superficial; they’re deep, necessary emotional connections fostered throughout the whole movie, and an answer to solitude. By thirteen, Kiki has at last decided to head out on her own to find a town. Not every town has a witch, but no town has more than one; and so, Kiki must find her own town. Her mother, after all, is the local witch in her town so now Kiki must become a small fish in a big pond. Overall this book was very fun and light-hearted. This book was read similar to a diary of Kiki’s and there were lots of fun adventures she encountered. There was not a lot of character or plot developments throughout the novel. The book did not have any crazy plot twists but had a bunch of mini-adventures that were simple and fun to read. The pictures were also nice and complemented the stories well. The translation to English was also good and easily understood. There were a few parts that were a bit choppy and oddly written, but only messed up the flow, never the understanding of the story. This book also taught many lessons about growing up and experiencing things on your own for the first time. Being independent can sound fun and exciting as it was at first to Kiki, however, this independence comes with responsibility. There were times where Kiki had to solve problems and do things for herself. This book certainly covers themes of growing up but also tells the stories in a funny and charismatic way. Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono is a novel that originally became popular in Japan but then became popular in North America through a TV show. This novel is about a young witch who goes off on her own for the first time with only her cat Jiji as a companion. Together they explore a new city and Kiki learns what is it like to be on her own for the first time.

Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono | Books and Bao Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono | Books and Bao

When Kiki arrives in her new city, the citizens don’t take too kindly to her — a hint that this journey won’t be as smooth and victorious as she might have thought. She’s a stranger in the large crowds, unaccustomed to bustling traffic and staring people. Jiji voices his concern: maybe they should find another town that’s friendlier? But Kiki is determined to make this work. While each chapter in Kiki’s Delivery Service is relatively self-contained, there is a continuity that unfolds, and a delightful world that is built. Kiki’s journey passes through all four seasons, and she learns more about her new home’s history, geography, and residents as she goes. By the end, both she and the reader truly feel at home in Koriko. Kiki’s sadness affects her magic so she can no longer fly, but the separation with Jiji comes from something else entirely. Kiki is eventually able to regain her magical powers, after taking a break from work, hanging out with Ursula, and swooping in to save Tombo at the movie’s end. But she never repairs the bond she once had with Jiji. While the 1997 English dub has a throwaway line at the end implying that they’re able to talk again (Jiji jumping on her shoulder and asking, “Kiki, can you hear me?”), the original Japanese script does not. Miyazaki himself has said in the art book for the film that Jiji represents an immature side of Kiki, and by the end of the film, she no longer needs him.But in the context of exploring loneliness, Jiji represents more than just Kiki’s childish side. He represents her childhood, the bonds she had with her family in her youth, a comfort she can always return to when things get particularly difficult. Time and time again through the movie, she turns to Jiji when she’s otherwise alone. But when that bond is severed — when she’s thrust out of the comforts she once knew — she faces a loneliness she’s never experienced before. It’s part of growing up, but it’s still painful and scary. That big pond is a town called Koriko, where, when she first arrives, Kiki is made to feel unwelcome and looked on with suspicion. She has a year here before she can return home to her parents and tell them what she has achieved. Studio Ghibli’s fourth feature-length film follows a young witch named Kiki who, per witch tradition, leaves home at age 13 to complete her training. Armed with her mother’s broom and her familiar, Jiji, Kiki lands in a new city full of new people and establishes herself as the resident witch.

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