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Yuki Midorikawa is the creator of the Manga Taisho nominated series Natsume's Book of Friends. Her other titles published in Japan include Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies), Hiiro no Isu (The Scarlet Chair), and Akaku Saku Ko (The Voice that Blooms Red).
Gr 7 Up-What appears to be a demon vs. boy story turns out to be a tame tale rich in Japanese folklore. Natsume has always been able to see the supernatural, but now the Yokai spirits and demons have been pestering him because his grandmother has trapped the creatures in "the book of friends" and they want to be released. Natsume makes a deal with Nyanko, a demon trapped in a Beckoning Cat sculpture, and agrees to help release the "Friends." If Natsume dies during the course of the venture, Nyanko will gain control of the book. Stand-alone chapters allow for the development of several supernatural beings. Natsume does not make friends easily at his new school but eventually meets Tanuma, who also has paranormal ability. This friendship, along with wondering who will gain control of the book, will keep readers interested in the series. The pace is slow at times, but the introduction of new characters will hold readers' interest. The black-and-white artwork has light lines that will cause readers to look carefully and pay attention to the action and drama of the story. Endnotes and short chapter summaries help them understand it.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.