On the first day of her summer vacation, fifth-grader Haru goes to the convenience store for ice cream but is kidnapped on the way. The abductor is none other than her father, who disappeared from home some two months before. The good-for-nothing loser apparently thinks he can use her to get something out of her mother.
At first Haru assumes it's some kind of joke, but her father buys her the clothes and other things she will need for the long haul and takes her on the run with him; she soon realizes it's for real, and in fact, not all bad. Though her thoughts often drift back to her familiar routines at home, where her grandmother and two aunts visited frequently, she grows increasingly accustomed to the unfamiliar twists and turns of life on the road. As their incident-filled journey progresses, she responds to her hapless father's frequent blunders by refusing to listen to him, or by throwing a hissy-fit as only a little girl can?and even going so far as to tell a policeman that he's a kidnapper. But in the midst of camping out together and even testing each other's mettle in the graveyard of a temple that has put them up for the night, Haru realizes she's actually starting to like her dad. Then, about the time she feels as though she's finally getting to know him and would like things to keep on going the way they are, the kidnap drama comes to an end.
Exploring the subtly shifting relationship between father and daughter in crisp, compelling prose, author Mitsuyo Kakuta creates a richly flavored story that can be enjoyed as much by the general reader as by young adults.