"Pilu of the Woods is a heartwarming tale full of natural wonder, with wise and lovely messages about coping with grief, facing your feelings, and learning to forgive yourself." - KATIE O'NEILL (Eisner Award-winning author of The Tea Dragon Society)
For fans of Hilda and the Troll comes PILU OF THE WOODS, a heartwarming and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, exploring complex emotions and finding your way home from debut creator Mai K. Nguyen.
Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.
But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger... and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.
BONUS CONTENT: This edition includes blank journal pages in the back to encourage readers to keep their own notes about nature and their feelings.
About the Author
Mai K. Nguyen is a comics maker, illustrator, and ice-cream enthusiast living in Northern California. She has previously self-published two short stories, Coral and the King and Little Ghost. When she's not doodling, she's hustling as a visual designer in San Francisco, watching too many true-crime documentaries, or dreaming about all the other comics she wants to make. Not unlike Willow, she loves feeling small amongst redwood trees and inhaling the salty-grassy smell of coastal bluffs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review. *** This is a beautiful and heartbreaking story. My eye was caught because the description compared it to Hilda which I’ve fallen in love with recently, but it’s definitely its own story. Willow is a girl wrestling with her own demons and after a fight with her sister and running away she comes across Pilu, a tree spirit who also ran away from home, and she offers to help take her back home. I loved the manifestation of Willow’s emotions as little demons that she tries to contain, it’s an image that kids can understand and grasp. The book touches on loss, grief, coping with strong emotions, and strength. Willow thinks the last one means she can’t let anyone see her slip but on this beautiful emotional journey, that definitely made me cry a bit, she comes to learn otherwise. The art is beautiful (so so beautiful) and bright and colorful. It’s very attention grabbing and I loved it.
This graphic novel is so beautifully drawn, you need to just savor the pictures before going back to the story. And, the story is a good one. A young girl makes friends with the daughter of mother nature. Through their friendship, they each learn to appreciate their lives. There is a nice sprinkling of information about nature, like about magnolia trees. The only caveat is that there is a part about picking mushrooms for eating. I didn't see the standard notice about only eating mushrooms picked by experienced pickers. I know that my little one was already excited to look for mushrooms in our woods (where we have few if any edibles). I stopped that notion quickly. Overall, really well done graphic novel. 4.5 Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Willow is a young girl full of anger that she is trying to keep bottled up inside only to lash out at those she loves and breaks a promise that that is very close to her heart. I think this is a great book for children to understand how holding in their emotions will only make you feel worse and make you lash out even more, You even learn a little botany along the way. I would recommend this book.