I'm somewhat embarrassingly behind on book blogging this month...
My daughter signed this book out from the library and I picked it up on a whim, hoping for some light and fun reading. It definitely fit the bill, though overall the book was quite a bit slower than the film. (See? This is why I should stick to my rule of not seeing the movie before I read the book!) I get the impression that Miyazaki pulled out the most dramatic events from this book and its sequels (apparently there are several) to make the movie Kiki's Delivery Service.
At any rate, it's a sweet coming-of-age story which would make a good read-aloud for an older child. The basic premise is that Kiki, the daughter of a witch, has reached her thirteenth birthday and by tradition must leave her home and find a town that doesn't have a witch living in it. So, bringing little more than her radio, her black cat Jiji and her mother's old broom, she sets off for the seaside city of Koriko and begins the sometimes difficult process of becoming an independent witch.
And if you've got kids and they haven't seen the film, can I just say it is truly delightful and well worth renting?