Plot: Tohru Honda recently lost her mother to a terrible a hit and run accident and is now an orphan, her father died when she was just a toddler. She has been living with her aunt, uncle and grandfather, but they are making renovations on their home Tohru offered to stay with a friend until the task is done. Except, she lied, there is no friend she can stay with, both her best friends have a full house and she doesn’t want to burden them, so she is living in a tent out in the woods. When walking to school one day she happens upon a house of a classmates, Yuki Sohma, and notices figures of the twelve zodiac animals lined up outside the door. Yuki’s cousin, Shigure, tells the story of the twelve zodiac, and Tohru confesses she loves the cat, even though he was left out. Things start to look more positive for Tohru after that and she learns a few secrets about Yuki and his family.
Review: This is a wonderful manga series about friendship, love, and the struggles of accepting yourself for who you are. Tohru is an incredibly nice character, almost too nice for her own good, but she helps lighten the story. Yuki and Kyo are both enamored with Tohru and instantly take a liking towards her, they offer they home to her and treat her like she is someone special. The art is fantasticly drawn with clear crisp lines that are very detailed and add to the story. Takaya took a great Japanese folktale that a lot of people are familiar with and created a beautiful manga out of it that is sure to be enjoyed by children across the world.
Genre: Graphic Novel/Manga/Friendship/Folktale
Reading Level/Interest Level: YA/11+
Similar Materials: The Sand Chronicles, Hinako Ashihara, Children of the Sea, by Daisuke Igarashi
Reader’s Advisory: An absolutely wonderful manga series. There are 23 volumes to the story and it was created into an anime series as well. Children can learn a little Japanese folktale while reading a great story about love and friendship. Highly recommended.