Sundays are for Reading - Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono and Joe Todd Stanton
By tradition, young witches leave their families at age 12 to find and settle in a new village. Kiki’s Delivery Service charts the year that new witch Kiki spends becoming part of the community in her new town. The book which the beloved Studio Ghibli animated film was based on, this new translation of Kiki’s Delivery Service has been published in a beautiful hardcover, accompanied by Joe Todd Stanton’s whimsical illustrations of Kiki’s way of facing challenges with unique aplomb.
While Kiki’s Delivery Service was originally published in 1985, its endearing heroine and her adventures continue to hold timeless messages. Torn between tradition and modernity, Kiki loves the gift of flight she’s inherited from her witch mother but she’d rather live in a bustling town than a sleepy village.
Beginning from Kiki’s journey from her home village to the town of Koriko, each chapter settles into a self-contained episodic story as Kiki solves problems with a dash of flight and some thinking outside of the box. In one such instance, an emergency concert delivery sees Kiki stringing brass musical instruments to hang from her broom, letting the wind tootle on horns and trombones as she races to her destination just in time.
Kiki’s adventures may be light and encouraging but a thread of melancholy winds through the story. Generation by generation, magic has begun to disappear from the world — unlike past witches, Kiki possesses only the gift of flight. Eiko Kadono links this to disappearing experiences in our world, like the rarity of a truly dark night or a perfect silence. Kiki struggles not only with delivering belly bands or helping to dry a too-long line of laundry, but also with her desire to be a witch of her own making before her first year as a witch comes to a close.
While we recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service for independent readers aged 7 and up, each episodic chapter is also great for a read aloud bedtime story for younger readers. With its lovely illustrations and timeless themes, adult readers and animation fans will find plenty to love in this edition as well.