09 October 2010

Takeshita Demons

by Cristy Burne. Illustrated by Siku

Walker Books Australia. Junior fiction, Australian. Paperback, rrp $14.95

Reviewed by Sandy Fussell

The first in a unique new series, Takeshita Demons is an exciting cross-cultural adventure. The story combines the action and exoticism of Japanese anime with a classic tale of friendship and good versus evil.

When Miku’s Baba (grandmother) dies, the family moves from Japan to England, not realising the danger they have unleashed. Away from the protection of the traditional home and without Baba’s vigilance, it falls to Miku to keep in place the preventatives that ward off ancient demons.

The bloodthirsty nukekubi follows the family across the sea, relentlessly hunting the Takeshita children. This monster’s head flies free of its body as it searches for prey. With her new friend Cait, Miku must rescue her little brother Kazu from the nukekubi and ensure the future safety of the Takeshita family.

But the nukekubi is not the only demon to be feared. The terrifying yuki-onna is seen in the snow and the faceless noppera-bo impersonates Cait’s father. Then there’s the dragonish Woman of the Wet, a nure-onna, who appears to be on Miku’s side.

For middle grade readers looking for adventure with a supernatural theme, this is the perfect choice. The ghosts and demons of this tale are drawn from traditional Japanese folklore and the element of horror is never gratuitous. Few readers will be frightened although many will catch their breath at times.

Takeshita Demons is a unique window into another world. Boys and girls from 8 – 12 years will love it.

In 2009, Takeshita Demons was the winner of the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award.


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