The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
On Sale Date: January 5, 2016,
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Ages 10 to 14, Grades 5 to 8
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher
My Rating: 5 Stars. Loved it!
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The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother's village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family's ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked... and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth - or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.
Diverse and beautifully written, The Night Parade offers something wonderful to children's literature.
When I first saw the cover for The Night Parade, I fell in love with it. After reading it, I had all those warm satisfied feelings you get from a story well told. A story filled with odd and strange creatures straight from Japanese folklore. Beautiful family traditions blended with dark enchantments, and young heroine, one that is a bit spoiled and self centred, who ends up on a quest to right a curse she unleashes and along the way discovers the importance of family and honoring traditions.
I like to challenge myself and read from various genres and age groups. The Night Parade ended up being a perfect choice as it introduces some of the most curious creatures and spirits from Japanese lore that I have recently come across. I was thoroughly entertained, enchanted even as the protagonist Saki maneuvers between a setting of present-day Japan and the world of spirits.
If you can imagine the something along the lines of Spirited Away meeting A Christmas Carol, you might just get a glimmer of the fantastically odd and beautiful story The Night Parade is. Saki meets some unique characters, spirit-helpers, who try to assist her on her quest to unbreak a terrible curse she accidentally invokes. They lead her to what is known as The Night Parade, and from there is only gets better, stranger and lovelier.
People sometimes wonder why an adult would read middle-grade titles. Well, besides reading them with my children, I tell them it is for the lovely escape they offer and often, the wonderful values that you can find in them like hidden jewels. I miss that sometimes. The Night Parade completely delivered a fantastic read and what an introduction to new author Kathryn Tanquary's writing!
As they stepped from the forest to the Pilgrim’s Road, Saki turned her head in wonder. More spirits than she could count stretched as far as she could see, filtering in from a dozen smaller trails. The fox sprang forward, and Saki leaped to catch up. If she focused on the dusty gravel at her feet and not the hundreds of pairs of eyes that watched her as she darted past, she might not be so afraid. The fox slowed with the rest of the traffic as another pair of trails joined the Pilgrim’s Road. Saki let her gaze wander over the procession of spirits climbing up from the other side of the mountain , giant boars with charms and wind chimes dangling from their silver tusks. But these weren’t even the strangest of the lot.
The Pilgrim’s Road drew creatures of every color and shape. Some had the head of one animal and the body of another. Some looked more like rocks or trees than any breathing creature. Most, however, were nothing more than vague shapes that would fade in and out as if they were tricks of the light. “This is the crossroads,” the fox explained. “All of the paths converge here. This is where the parade truly begins.”