OMG There's a 'My Neighbor Totoro' Book!!!!!!!

March 5, 2014

Oh my friends. I won't shout at you today. I will whisper.

Because I can't believe this book exists. I just......cannot truly take in and process that the best movie ever made for children (that's right) exists in book form.

Have you seen 'My Neighbor Totoro'??? Have you seen it?? If you have, then you know. And it's silly for me to expound on and on. But if you don't know.....just imagine a movie that perfectly realizes the magic and imagination of childhood in one big, beautiful, hazy, and breathtaking spectacle. THAT'S what's going on in the 'Totoro' movie. I've lost track of how many times we've seen this film. If all you've ever seen are Disney movies and the like, you will be knocked down flat by the haunting beauty of a  Miyazaki film. (not to knock Disney, because no one loves 'Frozen' more than I do.)

Anyway....there's a book! And I got it! Just sitting there at the bookstore. And not just any book, but a chapter book, a beautiful beautiful chapter book with tons of little details and added elements to the story that aren't present in the film (which does not rely very heavily on dialogue). We get to be inside the character's heads in the book version, in a way that wasn't possible to experience in the movie version.

The story centers around two young sisters who move to the Japanese countryside with their dad, while their mother is recuperating in a convalescent hospital after a lengthy illness. Soon after moving, the girls notice strange small creatures running around their house, called totoros (Japanese spirits of the woods, usually only seen by children).


After encountering the little totoros and some funny little creatures called soot sprites, the girls then run into a not-so-small Totoro ~ he's a BIG one! Who looks like a giant bunny-slash-cat. He and the girls develop a friendship, and the Totoro, in his big, silent way, helps the girls to better navigate their emotions as they process their grief over the absent mama. (don't worry, the mama recovers and comes home at the end of the story.)

Look! It's the cat bus!!! In the film, there is a magical cat bus, and it takes the girls for a ride through the countryside.

I'm seriously freaking out over the fact that this beautiful hardcover book is real. Julia and I are going to begin reading it together immediately. I've flipped through it, and it looks very lovingly put together, with more detail put in regarding the girls' thoughts and actions. The novelization was written by Japanese children's author Tsugiko Kubo.

I've included photos of the illustrations but don't be fooled by that ~ there are not many pictures, this is very much a chapter book. But the art that does appear are original creations by artist/director Miyazaki himself, made specifically for the book. I was especially thrilled to discover a map in the front, which depicts important places in the story. I love maps like that!!

OH FRIENDS! (I had to shout a little.) Please see 'My Neighbor Totoro' if you haven't already. And for those of you who have seen it and love it, I'm going to go out on a limb and imagine that you are pretty thrilled, like I was, to see it in book form! I can't WAIT to get started reading this with Julia! I'm going to peg the book for kids aged 7-11, but the movie we first saw when my kiddo was 4, and she looooooooved it then.

Truly one of my happiest book finds EVER.


(i linked to the book, like, five times, just so you won't forget about it! i linked to the movie as well. all links are Amazon affiliate links.)




16 comments:

  1. This is totally cool! Adding it to someone's wish list right now... I checked the movie out for the girls once, and they liked it, although strangely enough, they prefer Spirited Away. They like their entertainment to be a little creepy...

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    1. ha ha ha! i think just now J is ready for Spirited Away, which is amazing. Actually, for awhile, 'Kiki's Delivery Service' was being watched by Julia just as much as 'Totoro', but 'Totoro' is definitely the more magical experience, in my opinion :)

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  2. Say WUUUUUTTTT!!!
    Girl, we LOVE totoro at our house. I may have a Totoro sticker on the back of my car (so far, no one knows what it is, and i feel like such a hipster)
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/118657981/totoro-car-decal?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=totoro+car+decal&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

    I didnt know there was a book, I will have to ferret that out! I just love this one--- i think it may be my favorite of his. That and Ponyo. And Kiki's delivery service. And...well, i like them all ;)

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    1. we like them all too!!!! LOVE Ponyo!! And Kiki!!! Although I didn't loooove 'Arietty' sadly.

      I had no idea there was a book, until I came across it in the bookstore! I think it came out only in the fall of 2013.

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  3. I've never heard of this movie, but I promptly put it in my netflix queue. If my kids like it I'll have to keep a lookout for the book. My oldest girl is nearing independent reader-hood, so I need to switch from finding "boy adventure" books mode to also looking for girl stuff. Good times.

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    1. you all will LOVE it Dana!!!! or at least I hope you do. :) But I really think you will!!!!

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  4. Fabulous find!!! I love the movie and my kid too! Wow this is awesome! Thanks for sharing Melissa!!!!

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    1. it was my very sincerest pleasure to freak out about this book today :)

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  5. Oh. My. Gosh. There are no words for how in love with this I am. The pictures! And wording! And oh the movie...sigh. Thanks for posting about it - the book's on my next purchase order for sure!!

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    1. Aw thanks so much Miss Mary!!!! Hey i know you. i think you commented here before and i discovered you are into and a creator of YA fiction!! your site is awesome!!! just had me a refresher look and found loads of new material to look for!! and you have a book coming out later this year?? i want to see!! :)

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  6. I wonder if Bonnie knows about this... cause if she doesn't she's going to flip out.

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    1. BONNIE!!! miss that girl. she used to chat with me over on Pink Sparkle Fun but since I abandoned that blog, we haven't been able to chat like we used to! tell her XOXO!

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  7. i SUPER love that movie.

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    1. i want to marry that movie, but Andrew says I'm already married. i really don't see why I can't be married to him AND a movie, what gives?

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