Kiki’s Delivery Service – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆   (4.5 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 Stars)

As a witch, Kiki is expected to venture off into the world after her thirteenth birthday in order to come of age. Her goal: settle down in a town or city that needs a witch in order to help. But, when Kiki arrives in a city that is devoid of witches, she finds that people are not welcoming, but fearful. With only her cat Jiji at her side, can she find a way to assimilate into the city, especially when the only she is good at is…flying (and even that isn’t perfect)? 

Kiki’s Delivery Service is the inspiration for the Studio Ghibli movie by the same name. Unlike the movie, the story is much more a “slice of life” type of tale, taking us through Kiki’s jobs over the course of a year. There isn’t as much conflict, except for Kiki’s determination to grow older and succeed in her tales, in contrast to  the movie.

I actually had never seen the movie. After finishing the book, I rented it for comparison’s sake. The essence of both stories are the same, but the movie focuses much more on Kiki’s earlier turmoil, trying to fit in and show that witches aren’t “evil.” In the book, Kiki doesn’t lose her magic or give up, generally optimistic for the most part! I think it was important for the movie to focus on a larger conflict rather than these episodic problems, otherwise audiences would lose interest. 

The book itself is cute, with an endearing message about growing up. Children, and adults alike, will connect with Kiki’s journey of self-discovery. The only reason why I give it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I lost interest in a few of the stories at a time, since ultimately they were a tad predictable.

This is one of the rare circumstances where I think I enjoyed the movie more than the book though. Both are wonderful, but the movie has a deeper message with a bit more substance. (This is in contrast to how I felt regarding Howl’s Movie Castle, another Studio Ghibli movie). Either way though, if you enjoyed the movie, the book definitely adds a bit more to the movie, and vice versa.

Overall, it is worth the read! 

What’s it about?


Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her 13th birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wisecracking black cat, Jiji by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.

Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new and dedicated fans.

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