- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Annick Press (Feb. 1 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1550377892
- ISBN-13: 978-1550377897
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 717 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,647,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Kiki's Delivery Service Hardcover – Feb 1 2003
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About the Author
Eiko Kadono was born in Tokyo, Japan, and after living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, returned to the ancient Japanese city of Kamakura. Eiko is presently writing the fourth volume in the adventures of Kiki.
Lynne E. Riggs was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Tokyo as an adult. She heads the translation firm Center for Intercultural Communication and has worked with the Japanese Board on Books for Young People since 1990.
Akiko Hayashi began drawing at the age of eleven in Tokyo while studying in a painter's studio.
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I'd like to give this book the full five stars, but I have a couple of caveats. One is the cover illustration by Irvin Cheung, showing a robust, rosy-cheeked Euro-witch. Somehow, it totally misses the warm and evocative line-drawings by Akiko Hayashi, which fortunately are included in the book.
Translating is one of the world's most thankless job. If the translation is really fine, the reader shouldn't even notice it. The irregularities should be smoothed out, the oddities of one language seamlessly patched with the oddities of another.
Lynne E. Riggs has created a mostly complete, very readable English version of Kadono's book, but there are a few quintessentially Japanese touches that got missed. At one point, just before she leaves home, Kiki tells her mother, "Anata no musume wo, shinjinasaittara, shinjinasai. Mou yooi wa dekitemasu." Riggs's reading of this ("You should trust your own daughter more! Believe me, I'm already ready to go.") is literate and understandable. However, one of my Japanese teachers pointed out that this is an old Japanese song. A Japanese reader would certainly pick up on this, while a Westerner would not. My attempt at translation would cue a Western reader by preserving the rhythm:
"I'm your daugh-ter, o mother dear,
Just trust in me, I say,
Have faith in me.
I've got plans, I'm al-read-y pre-pared..."
Nitpicking? Maybe, but also an illustration of the pitfalls awaiting the translator.
As I said above, though, this is a fine translation of a fine book, long overdue in English.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
You may think this book would be easy to find at a used bookstore or online, but that would be a lie. Thanks to the anime film, it made the book hard obtain in regards of price and value. It can be expensive. You'll ask yourself, "Is it really worth it?" Yes. No matter the price, it is still a fun and enjoyable book to read to children.
I'd be wary...regardless of who you purchase it from, I'd demand a photo of the actual book, because it seems like some people are listing the book about the animated film that was printed (which is completely different than the one pictured) instead of the original source material Miyazaki used.
Anyway, the book itself is a bit different than the Ghibli movie, as are most of the books that Ghibli creates movies from. I love the little chapter illustrations of Kiki and Jiji. It's a very cute children's book, and I plan on taking good care of my copy for a long time. A must-have for those who really love Kiki.
You won't find a daring dirigible rescue or a terribly deep relationship with Tombo or Ursula in the book, and her relationship with Jiji is not tested as much as it is in the movie. But you will find several quirky, pleasant and creative new scenarios in which Kiki finds creative ways to solve. I loved the idea of Kiki making "accidental" music while towing a string of orchestral instruments on her broom, and her keeping hundreds of feet of colorful drying laundry aloft. I wish Miyazaki had put some of these stories into his animation, but I understand how they didn't advance the plot much.
Basically, this book is a pleasant, breezy sort of read and it great if you want a book you can read in an afternoon, or if you want to see more of Kiki. I only wish it had been a little longer!
however, i do have some criticisms... first, perhaps least significant, the cover is indeed horrendous. the illustrations inside are quite wonderful and you wonder why the ridiculous cover was made. second, i found an obvious typo in the book which makes me wonder if there was an editor... which leads to the third criticism, the translation is quite awkward. it is overly difficult and unnecessarily complicated. i am not looking for a dumbed-down translation, but, reading the text is often a chore. there are moments of elegant prose, but they are far outweighed by the clumsiness of the rest of the book.
so, in my opinion, this book is for the more dedicated. (unless you are truly determined to learn japanese and read the original).