Thursday, May 19, 2011

Takeshita Demons

Takeshita Demons
by Cristy Burne
Frances Lincoln, 2011. 136 pgs. Fiction

Miku Takeshita's family has moved from Japan to England--and so have the demons who have plagued them since a pillar was placed upside down in their house. Miku places cedar leaves over the door to keep the family safe but when they are removed, a cold blast of a demon gets in under the guise of collecting for the Red Cross. Things get really weird really fast when Miku's substitute teacher, Mrs. Okuda, turns out to be a nukekubi, a creature with a detachable head that flies at night looking for children and puppies to eat. When Miku's mother winds up in the hospital and her father is trapped by a snowstorm, it is up to Miku and her friend Cait to rescue themselves and Miku's baby brother by getting rid of Mrs. Okuda's body before her head comes flying back. Though Takeshita Demons is a quick, easy read, it is also quite scary. In one chilling scene, for instance, Cait is collecting her things while her father waits at the front door when Miku answers the phone to find Cait's dad on the line. And who is the man at the door? A noppera-bo, a faceless one, who can turn into anyone in order to deceive. Yikes! Black and white manga-like drawings enhance a pleasurably thrilling text.

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