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Pilu of the Woods

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A heartwarming story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home from debut author/illustrator 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 sp A heartwarming story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home from debut author/illustrator 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.


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A heartwarming story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home from debut author/illustrator 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 sp A heartwarming story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home from debut author/illustrator 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.

30 review for Pilu of the Woods

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This was so precious. MY HEART.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbie

    My thoughts in a nutshell It was cute! Perfect middle-grade book with a valuable lesson. The story is about… Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek. A little girl, Willow, who is dealing with grief. The other kids in the school are bullying her because she likes books and nature. One day she has an awful fight with her sister and Willow runs away into the woods, where she meets the forest spirits who also runs away from home. They get to know each other and find out what will they My thoughts in a nutshell It was cute! Perfect middle-grade book with a valuable lesson. The story is about… Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek. A little girl, Willow, who is dealing with grief. The other kids in the school are bullying her because she likes books and nature. One day she has an awful fight with her sister and Willow runs away into the woods, where she meets the forest spirits who also runs away from home. They get to know each other and find out what will they do. What impressed me the most 😊 The more you ignore something, the louder it gets... nobody likes being ignored. I fall in love with the art style. It is so gorgeous! The plot is about how to understand and process the feelings. Willow is dealing with her inner monsters. The monsters are always growing, and if they become so huge, Willow could not handle her emotions anymore and she says out loud her thought. This is the reason why she fought with her sister. In through the storyline, Willow will learn how to face them. Make a conclusion I gave it 4 stars because I really like it but the ending was a little fast. I recommend it to anyone who loves middle-grade graphic novel or who has a child. It is a very colorful, beautiful, cartoony comic and it will enchant and teach your children (or you). Atmosphere collage aka. how did I imagine the book vibes? *ARC generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

  3. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Pilu of the Woods is an MG fantasy graphic novel about a little girl named Willow who gets in a fight with her big sister and goes running off into the woods, where she meets Pilu, a forest spirit. As they adventure together, Willow is forced to come to terms with her "monsters"—the emotions that cause her to lash out at her loved ones or to think poorly of herself—and she must learn how to take care of those feelings and deal with them in a healthy way, without hurting her family. I don't know Pilu of the Woods is an MG fantasy graphic novel about a little girl named Willow who gets in a fight with her big sister and goes running off into the woods, where she meets Pilu, a forest spirit. As they adventure together, Willow is forced to come to terms with her "monsters"—the emotions that cause her to lash out at her loved ones or to think poorly of herself—and she must learn how to take care of those feelings and deal with them in a healthy way, without hurting her family. I don't know if a graphic novel has ever given me quite as many Feels as Pilu did, but wow, this little story is incredible. Don't be turned off by its marketing as a middle grade story, because it is without a doubt the sort of tale that could be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The artwork is stunning and some of my favorite I've ever seen in a graphic novel, the plot is beautiful, and the characters are so lovable. Even though the hard copies won't be out for a little while, I've already added the final edition to my shopping list to pick up later because it's so lovely and precious that I know I'll reread it again and again. Be warned, though: you should probably have tissues on hand, because the ending of this little graphic novel had me weeping the most bittersweet tears. ♥ Well done on crafting such a gorgeous little world, Mai! Thank you so much to Oni Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Beautiful illustrations, but a mess of ideas and subplots.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    Beautiful illustrations! And a great story about regulating your emotions, I think lots of middle grade readers will relate to this book a lot.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Thank you Netgalley and Oni Press for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review Pilu of the Woods is possibly one of the cutest MG graphic novels i have ever read. I don’t think I’ve ever cried while reading a graphic novel before this one. The story was about love, loss and grief, and it was perfect. It really touched my heart and I had some tears spilling by the end of it. The illustrations were gorgeous and I’m definitely going to pick up whatever Mai K. Nguyen writes from now on.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I received an ARC of Pilu of the Woods from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 5 wonderful stars I don't know how to describe this graphic novel... it is just something else. The art is stunning and the color scheme and the way it changes throughout the story as the emotions change is really clever. I found this graphic novel to be a masterpiece. We follow a young girl (Willow) dealing with the grief of losing her mother, one day after arguing with her sister she runs into the woods near h I received an ARC of Pilu of the Woods from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 5 wonderful stars I don't know how to describe this graphic novel... it is just something else. The art is stunning and the color scheme and the way it changes throughout the story as the emotions change is really clever. I found this graphic novel to be a masterpiece. We follow a young girl (Willow) dealing with the grief of losing her mother, one day after arguing with her sister she runs into the woods near her house. She finds Pilu, a tree spirit that is lost and doesn't know her way home. Willow offers to help her and the story takes on from there. This a story of a little girl dealing with her "inner monsters" and learning how to face them. If you have the possibility, please read this graphic novel when it comes out. It's really good and this review doesn't come close to describe how amazing this story is. It got me a little teary-eyed and left me with a smile on my face.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    A heartwarming tale about friendship and how to deal with your feelings. This was obviously targeted for middle school age children, but there's enough there to like about it for all ages. The art is fantastic. It reads like a picture book in graphic novel form. Willow has a fight with her sister and runs off into the woods. There she runs into a tree nymph that also has run away after a fight with her mother. As Willow helps her find her way home, they become friends while learning how to proce A heartwarming tale about friendship and how to deal with your feelings. This was obviously targeted for middle school age children, but there's enough there to like about it for all ages. The art is fantastic. It reads like a picture book in graphic novel form. Willow has a fight with her sister and runs off into the woods. There she runs into a tree nymph that also has run away after a fight with her mother. As Willow helps her find her way home, they become friends while learning how to process their feelings. Willow's dad is a botanist and we also learn about several of the plants growing in the forest. Make sure you have a box of tissues by you, the story will more than likely make you weep. Received an advance copy from Oni Press and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dessa Mae

    "You know maybe, it's okay to cry sometimes." WOW. I'm so glad that I discovered this gem on NetGalley! First of all, I love the art so much! I couldn't stop geeking out about it on every page! I love the colors, which kinda has a watercolor feel to it and the super cute doodly and cartoony illustrations! SO GOOD! The story is as lovely as the art. The protagonist, Willow, ran away to the woods after having a fight with her older sister. In the forest, she met a tree spirit, Pilu, who also ran aw "You know maybe, it's okay to cry sometimes." WOW. I'm so glad that I discovered this gem on NetGalley! First of all, I love the art so much! I couldn't stop geeking out about it on every page! I love the colors, which kinda has a watercolor feel to it and the super cute doodly and cartoony illustrations! SO GOOD! The story is as lovely as the art. The protagonist, Willow, ran away to the woods after having a fight with her older sister. In the forest, she met a tree spirit, Pilu, who also ran away from her home. I absolutely adore these two characters. Willow has these monsters that she keeps inside jars, afraid that they might cause chaos if she lets them out. She ignores the fact that they're a part of her. But as Pilu said, no one wants to be ignored, even her monsters... which is such a good metaphor to feelings. In the end, Willow learned that it's okay to accept them. I thought being strong meant not crying, or whining, or complaining, or being sad... but I was wrong... It resonated so much to me. I tend to ignore some feelings, such as sadness because I usually think that it's a negative thing to feel, but in reality, there's something good and cathartic about accepting it. OHH... yeah, this reminds me of the movie Inside Out! Pilu is also a character whom I could identify with. She ran away from home because she felt very alone and invisible, but in reality, she's loved and cared for. I also feel that way at times! Surrounded by lots of people, I tend to feel alone and a complete stranger, but I realize that among these waves and waves of people, there are those who genuinely care for me and are ready to back me up anytime. In conclusion, this is such an adorable and heartwarming graphic novel. It might be a children's book, but it made me reflect on some things in life and about myself. Huhu. The feels. I sincerely hope that lots of people would be able to read this book when it's released next year because it's such a special and beautiful book! Thanks so much NetGalley for this eARC!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I love the art, especially that adorable dog! But the story is a little girl's downbeat slog through a forest with a spiritless tree spirit as she comes to terms with loss and grief. Dull and predictable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    I really didn't like this one at all. The drawings weren't my thing, the story was both depressing and confusing, and the book was riddled with typos and odd style choices. Pilu of the Woods, despite the title and the cover illustration, is actually about a girl named Willow who lives with her father and older sister, Linnea. She had a mother once, but she's dead now, and Willow is always getting in trouble because she doesn't know how to deal with her feelings. She bottles them up (literally) un I really didn't like this one at all. The drawings weren't my thing, the story was both depressing and confusing, and the book was riddled with typos and odd style choices. Pilu of the Woods, despite the title and the cover illustration, is actually about a girl named Willow who lives with her father and older sister, Linnea. She had a mother once, but she's dead now, and Willow is always getting in trouble because she doesn't know how to deal with her feelings. She bottles them up (literally) until she just has to let them out in a fit of anger and/or violence. This part of the book had me confused at first, because there are these drawings of little creatures in bottles throughout the panels, and I wasn't sure what that was about for the longest time. The bit about the mother is also confusing, because it almost seems like her death is what caused Willow to become the way she is. But that's not the case, because her mother tells her (before she dies) to always treat others with kindness and compassion, and even makes Willow promise this. It seems like a weird promise to have your child make, unless you know you're about to die (but that's not the case; it's implied the mother died in a car accident on a rainy night). So Willow gets even more screwed up by her emotions because she's trying to keep this promise to her dead mother. She bottles up all her feelings until they come exploding out, taking actual physical form in the woods and threatening her and her new friend, Pilu. Despite her name being in the title, I actually think Pilu is kind of unnecessary. Aside from agreeing with Willow about how tough feelings can be, she doesn't really add much to the story or offer any interesting insights or revelations. I guess she's almost like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in that respect, since her problems are only there so that Willow can come to her own realizations and solve her own problems. She's some sort of nature sprite who runs away from her magnolia grove because she feels ignored. But it's actually Willow who knows more about the woods, and teaches Pilu a few things about it. (Some of those bits were the most interesting parts of the book; I wish there had been a little bit more of that and a lot less of the girls trudging through the woods in silence.) That last point brings me to one of the most annoying things about this book, and that's how it's all put together. Aside from many typos and annoying onomatopoeia that uses repetition of silent letters (I can't stand it when people write that something is "cuttteee!", so I really wasn't pleased to see things like "RRUSSSTTTLLEEE" in the panels), the drawings are littered with near-empty speech bubbles with nothing but ellipses to show when the characters are being silent. Call me crazy, but wouldn't not having them say anything show the same thing just as well with less clutter? Also, the speech bubbles are all over the place. Sometimes they're smooth, sometimes they're jagged (which I think signified shouting), and sometimes they look like clouds... which seems odd, because I usually think of cloud shapes as thought bubbles, while here they're used for actual speech... for no real reason that I could see. I don't like the drawings here, either. They're too cutesy, and the author seems to like drawing tears and snot just a little too much (there's a panel near the beginning of the book that has Willow snorting back a slurpy booger that just about made me gag). One scene also has Willow sharing a peanut butter sandwich with her brand-new friend, which I thought was kind of irresponsible; teaching kids to share peanut butter with someone of unknown allergy status is not the best idea. Overall, I'm disappointed. The story's premise is okay, but there's far too much crying going on and not enough about actually dealing with negative feelings. (Willow eventually comes to realize that she has to acknowledge those feelings and not keep them bottled up, but it's not really shown how she's going to do that.) And with so many typos and weird style choices for the format, it's not one of the stronger graphic novels I've read. Thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for providing a digital ARC.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca (Coffeebooksandjournals)

    I received this an ARC copy from Netgalley. I gave this a 4.5 out of five stars. I really enjoyed the story and the art of this. It shows the loss of a parent and the hardships with it and being lonely. This is a middle grade graphic novel. Made me feel sad. I liked this and would continue with it if there was another to come out. I recommend this to people of all ages.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    Willow is feeling lost, figuratively and literally. She's just run away from her sister and her home to the woods where she once spent time with her mom. Her mom who's lost forever. In the woods she meets Pilu, a tree spirit who is lost as well. Willow and Pilu's lives parallel each others in some ways. Willow and Pilu are both angry at their circumstances and don't know a way out their own turbulent anger. As Pilu starts talking about how she feels invisible and how she isn't sure she wants to g Willow is feeling lost, figuratively and literally. She's just run away from her sister and her home to the woods where she once spent time with her mom. Her mom who's lost forever. In the woods she meets Pilu, a tree spirit who is lost as well. Willow and Pilu's lives parallel each others in some ways. Willow and Pilu are both angry at their circumstances and don't know a way out their own turbulent anger. As Pilu starts talking about how she feels invisible and how she isn't sure she wants to go home something starts being drawn out in Willow. Pilu not wanting to go back home to her mother makes her think of the mother she will never get back to. This anger manifests into something real and scary. Will Willow be able to get control of her emotions? And will Pilu decide to face her family? Pilu of the Woods is a story about facing our emotions before they get the better of us. The concept of Pilu of the Woods is one that could easily bring up my emotional side. The backstory alone got me teary eyed. The illustrations are colorful and have a pretty aesthetic. Everyone seems to love this comic, problem is, I don't. Yes, I liked the concept and some of the artwork but there were so many little things that added up to me thinking this was just an okay read. First of all, did you think the person on the cover was a little girl? Because I didn't. I love art so if something feels off it sticks with me. I like how Willow is a tomboy and is a bit nerdy but she looks like a miniaturized tomboy teenage girl. Not a little girl who's a tomboy. She actually looks like Harry Potter. And me being a stickler for art design, it was an unnecessary distraction. Also, do you see that dog on the cover? Yeah, he's hardly in the story which was a bummer. The other character who was actually part of the majority of the story, who is an adorable tree spirit, would have looked great on the cover but I digress. Now the art design of Willow could have been looked over however, the pacing of the story was off and the message was a little too much in your face. Willow goes to the woods, finds the tree spirit, and immediately we get into what Willow needs to learn about her family life. I would have liked her to realize everything in the end. She automatically couldn't believe why Pilu didn't want to go home. How could she do that to her family? So then that should have been it. She learned her lesson so why would everything else need to happen? So right away the message of the story is put in the forefront. Something that could have been put off. And then still while we journeyed and at the end of the story the message was pushed upon me again and again. I got it the first time so that frustrated me. The message is a good one that I think is great for the audience of this comic - children. I thought it was brilliant to have her emotions manifest because it shows how real her emotions feel to her. And just like kids (and sometimes adults too) she didn't know how to handle it. It's all great but not executed to my liking. But hey, everyone seems to like this comic and you may too. The author's illustrations are really pretty. I placed a couple of her images from her tumblr below so you can enjoy. Pilu of the Woods just wasn't for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was a wonderful little fable that perfectly blends fantasy with real world problems in a way that resonates with grownups (me) and kiddos (my son). Mai K. Nguyen has an adorable, very playful hand as an illustrator and as a writer she's got a great handle on the intense, constantly shifting emotions of her two main characters; a young girl named Willow who is dealing with a difficult family situation and the tree spirit she encounters while hiking in the woods. Both girls are fighting with This was a wonderful little fable that perfectly blends fantasy with real world problems in a way that resonates with grownups (me) and kiddos (my son). Mai K. Nguyen has an adorable, very playful hand as an illustrator and as a writer she's got a great handle on the intense, constantly shifting emotions of her two main characters; a young girl named Willow who is dealing with a difficult family situation and the tree spirit she encounters while hiking in the woods. Both girls are fighting with grief and guilt and anger, emotions they believe they have to conquer and keep down. But in meeting each other and hearing each other's stories they start to realize that even the emotions that hurt you are still part of who you are and expressing them, giving them voice, is just as important as embracing the good feelings. This is an invaluable message that is very lovingly expressed here. I can't recommend this enough as a delightful, gentle handling of tough subjects and just a genuinely good read. It treads some deep waters but never wades too far out and is laced with just the right amount of light humor to take the edge off the darker moments.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Netgalley, the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When Willow gets into a fight with her older sister Linnea and runs away to the woods, she runs into a forest spirit girl named Pilu who has run away from her own family. Will they both be able to find their way home and forgive their families for running away? Read on and find out for yourself. This was an amazing graphic novel that tells the story about friendship, forgive I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Netgalley, the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When Willow gets into a fight with her older sister Linnea and runs away to the woods, she runs into a forest spirit girl named Pilu who has run away from her own family. Will they both be able to find their way home and forgive their families for running away? Read on and find out for yourself. This was an amazing graphic novel that tells the story about friendship, forgiveness and finding your way home. I love the art style and everyone will love this book when it releases to bookstores in April of 2019.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michaela's Journey into Books

    *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* This graphic novel follows Willow who runs into the woods after a fight with her big sister, they she finds Pilu a tree spirit who has ran away from home and is now last. Willow promises to help Pilu find her way back to her family and along the way Willow comes face to face with her inner feelings and must decide whether she will embrace them or run from them. This graphic novel doe *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* This graphic novel follows Willow who runs into the woods after a fight with her big sister, they she finds Pilu a tree spirit who has ran away from home and is now last. Willow promises to help Pilu find her way back to her family and along the way Willow comes face to face with her inner feelings and must decide whether she will embrace them or run from them. This graphic novel does a beautiful job of portraying loss, grief and loneliness and I love the characters and the friendship that blooms between Willow and Pilu is so precious. The artwork in this is also gorgeous. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    *Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review* This was a super cute graphic novel. I really enjoyed the art style, and also liked that this small book was able to cover so many different important topics. I will say it was kind of confusing at times when it switched time lines, but other than that I believe this could help a lot of young kids or even some adults learn a few things about themselves!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This graphic novel is so beautiful. The artwork, the story, the message. It’s just wonderful!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julianne Godoy

    Graphic novels with a recipe at the end are my weakness.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This is such a heart-warming and lovely book, it was an absolute joy to read. I want to start by talking about the artwork, which is gorgeous. It's so detailed and imaginative, and the style and colouring still feels very gentle. I would even say the style and colouring is calming to look at. The story itself is also excellent. It follows Willow, a young girl who misses her late mother greatly, and her adventure in helping Pilu, who is a lost tree spirit, to find her way home. The way this story s This is such a heart-warming and lovely book, it was an absolute joy to read. I want to start by talking about the artwork, which is gorgeous. It's so detailed and imaginative, and the style and colouring still feels very gentle. I would even say the style and colouring is calming to look at. The story itself is also excellent. It follows Willow, a young girl who misses her late mother greatly, and her adventure in helping Pilu, who is a lost tree spirit, to find her way home. The way this story shows how bottling up emotions and not talking about them does more harm than good, is well conveyed. It shows how emotions we don't know how to handle can build up inside us like monsters, and in bursts of emotion we can say and do things we don't mean. It also shows that opening up about these emotions to ourselves and talking about them to those in our lives is healthy, and that it's okay to talk about these things. We all have our own monsters we have to face, we all get scared and angry or feel alone sometimes. Willow's emotions largely stem from her grief at losing a parent which i feel is a topic well handled in this children's story, it does so without becoming too heavy for children to understand. What i got from reading this, is that it's okay to be sad and reach out to others, and also that we shouldn't take the people we love for granted - or assume things about them without talking to them. Overall, it was a great book that shows how to handle overwhelming negative emotions in a better way, while providing a great comic style and story i can easily see kids and adults alike enjoying. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I received a free copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eshana Ranasinghe

    Nguyen’s colourful, cartoony illustrations were beautiful and really emotive which was perfect for such a melancholic book. This is a children’s book which deals with topics of dealing with sadness, loneliness and the loss of a parent as well as communicating those feelings with your loved ones. Willow’s negative emotions are personified as monster inside which she suppresses and causes to lash out at her family members and those around her when her monsters overwhelmed her. I really related to W Nguyen’s colourful, cartoony illustrations were beautiful and really emotive which was perfect for such a melancholic book. This is a children’s book which deals with topics of dealing with sadness, loneliness and the loss of a parent as well as communicating those feelings with your loved ones. Willow’s negative emotions are personified as monster inside which she suppresses and causes to lash out at her family members and those around her when her monsters overwhelmed her. I really related to Willow and her feelings because I also personified my depression as a monster (even though I’m an adult lol) which is probably the reason I was reading this through tears. Pilu, the lost forest spirit Willow helps was adorable and dealings with her own feelings of loneliness. I really loved how the characters became friends and learned to deal with their feelings and problems together as they traveled through the forest. I especially liked all the illustrations of the forest and learning about flowers and trees and mushrooms they saw along the way. I highly recommend this to anyone of any age! This was really moving and the illustrations were so wonderful. I’m so glad I was given the privilege of being able to read this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Devil

    Mini Review: This is a heartwarming tale about Willow, who lives with her elder sister and father by the woods. She finds the woods around her house very appealing and it often reminds her about the time she spent there with her loving mother. Like any other geeky kid at school, she was often subjected to ridicule by her classmates. But once it reached a tipping point, willow could no longer take the insults and chastised them away in a fit of anger. Back at home, Willow lashes out at her big s Mini Review: This is a heartwarming tale about Willow, who lives with her elder sister and father by the woods. She finds the woods around her house very appealing and it often reminds her about the time she spent there with her loving mother. Like any other geeky kid at school, she was often subjected to ridicule by her classmates. But once it reached a tipping point, willow could no longer take the insults and chastised them away in a fit of anger. Back at home, Willow lashes out at her big sister who tries to confront her for her wrongdoing. Unable to keep her emotions in check, She runs off far away from the house hoping that running away from her problems would make them disappear. But little did she know that her impromptu meeting with the Forest Spirit in the woods would help find her way in life. Full credits to the author cum illustrator to deliver such a deep and profound message through the visually stunning artwork. I feel that this is a graphic novel which people of all ages can enjoy reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    B.A. Wilson

    At it’s heart, this is a story of grief, friendship, and moving forward The artwork for this graphic novel is always clear, and it has a muted palette for scenes from the past (which I really enjoy). It sets the tone well for the story, and the artist does a great job of showing me the world/setting. The story is fantastic, because it says a lot, with as few words as possible, which I find delightful. After having just slogged through two really text heavy graphic novels with too much telling, I At it’s heart, this is a story of grief, friendship, and moving forward The artwork for this graphic novel is always clear, and it has a muted palette for scenes from the past (which I really enjoy). It sets the tone well for the story, and the artist does a great job of showing me the world/setting. The story is fantastic, because it says a lot, with as few words as possible, which I find delightful. After having just slogged through two really text heavy graphic novels with too much telling, I loved how this graphic novel just showed me the story. I found myself rushing forward and often had to slow myself down, so I could really enjoy the scenes and artwork. This was perfection. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this title in advance. It releases on April 17, 2019, so go pre-order your copy today. This is a must have for all MG graphic novel collections. Pages: 160

  24. 5 out of 5

    Merel

    I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review A very sweet middle grade graphic novel about a young girl, Willow, coping with loss and mental health. After she has a fight with her big sister, she runs away from home to find a tree spirit, Pilu, who also ran away from home. The colour palette is beautiful and the drawing style is sweet and easy on the eye that fits very well with the storytelling. The forest is brought to life in such clever ways. The way m I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review A very sweet middle grade graphic novel about a young girl, Willow, coping with loss and mental health. After she has a fight with her big sister, she runs away from home to find a tree spirit, Pilu, who also ran away from home. The colour palette is beautiful and the drawing style is sweet and easy on the eye that fits very well with the storytelling. The forest is brought to life in such clever ways. The way mental health issues are portrayed is really effective. Willow's emotions come across very well through it. I think this is a beautiful story for young children to learn about coping with very strong emotions and negative feelings or situations. Willow and Pilu are so easy to love!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    This was one of the cutest graphic novels I have ever read. It deals with something very heavy, children dealing with the death of a parent and the “monsters” inside your head that make you say things you don’t mean. The art style was completely amazing and I actually took my time to look at each picture carefully even if there were no words on it because it was the beautiful. This was a very short graphic novel and took maybe half an hour/45 minutes to read. I got so connected to Willow and Pilu. This was one of the cutest graphic novels I have ever read. It deals with something very heavy, children dealing with the death of a parent and the “monsters” inside your head that make you say things you don’t mean. The art style was completely amazing and I actually took my time to look at each picture carefully even if there were no words on it because it was the beautiful. This was a very short graphic novel and took maybe half an hour/45 minutes to read. I got so connected to Willow and Pilu. I don’t have any idea how in such a short book. I even teared up at the end. If you are looking for an amazingly beautiful short graphic novel, I highly recommend this one!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Felicia Mathews (Bookishly Slytherclaw)

    Advanced copy provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own. Pilu of the Woods really captures how confusing and sometimes overwhelming emotions and adolence can be. Willow and Pilu navigate the woods and their emotions as the find their way back to Pilu's grove. This has beautiful illustrations and an amazing story. Definitely recommend this story!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Beautiful all around. Fantastic art and colors, amazing character designs. Touching and important message and story. I adored every second of it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This a sweet, but a little heavy handed story about a young girl trying to deal with grief. We never learn how her mother died, just that she did, and she has not come to terms with her feelings. And the feelings are like monsters to her, that she should fear. Then she meets a tree spirit, and by helping Pilu, she helps herself realize that she has to feel the feelings that are threatening to smother her. Hey, even though I knew I was being manipulated, the story made me cry, so it did its magic. T This a sweet, but a little heavy handed story about a young girl trying to deal with grief. We never learn how her mother died, just that she did, and she has not come to terms with her feelings. And the feelings are like monsters to her, that she should fear. Then she meets a tree spirit, and by helping Pilu, she helps herself realize that she has to feel the feelings that are threatening to smother her. Hey, even though I knew I was being manipulated, the story made me cry, so it did its magic. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lawrence

    First, I deeply loved the illustrations throughout this graphic novel. Beautifully rendered characters, beings and setting as well. With that said, the story itself was really preachy about managing feelings, respecting your family and choosing to return home after running away. I wanted to know much more about Pilu, her world and experiences. The story unfortunately fell flat for me because it was so pointed in the message-giving. Thank you to Oni Press for the advanced reader copy received dur First, I deeply loved the illustrations throughout this graphic novel. Beautifully rendered characters, beings and setting as well. With that said, the story itself was really preachy about managing feelings, respecting your family and choosing to return home after running away. I wanted to know much more about Pilu, her world and experiences. The story unfortunately fell flat for me because it was so pointed in the message-giving. Thank you to Oni Press for the advanced reader copy received during the ALA Annual Conference.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Harker

    CW: bullying, death of a parent Middle school can be tough and with big changes in her life, Willow clings to the familiar: her love of learning and what her mother taught her about nature, including everything she knows about her mother's favorite magnolia blossoms that grow in their backyard. But there's still a lot to deal with and one day she runs away into the woods where she meets Pilu, a nature spirit who lives in the very magnolia grove that Willow's visited countless times. Will helping P CW: bullying, death of a parent Middle school can be tough and with big changes in her life, Willow clings to the familiar: her love of learning and what her mother taught her about nature, including everything she knows about her mother's favorite magnolia blossoms that grow in their backyard. But there's still a lot to deal with and one day she runs away into the woods where she meets Pilu, a nature spirit who lives in the very magnolia grove that Willow's visited countless times. Will helping Pilu find her way home and reconcile with her mother help Willow deal with the hurt inside herself? Find out in Pilu of the Woods. The art, first and foremost, sets a wonderful tone for the book. It's beautiful rendered from the humans/humanoids creatures in the book to the various nature scenes. Combining that with seamless scientific facts regarding the plants that Willow encounters along her journey with Pilu, such as how mushrooms grow and how a fairy ring is formed, was really interesting. The tension was very real between Willow and her older sister, Linnea. Their relationship reminded me a bit of Lilo and Nani what with the sibling dynamic, though their father was around and spoken of often by Willow, such as how he taught her about nature. Linnea's caretaker role, though, and her scenes with Willow highlight the early stress that the family is feeling before the first page due to her behavior, how she was trying to keep the stress of Willow's school problems their father, and she reacted to yet another phone call from Willow's teacher regarding her punching a bully. This segue into Willow's running into the forest, meeting Pilu, and starting her journey to bring Pilu home, to learning more about herself, was heartbreaking even as it was a necessary catalyst for the rest of the story. I like the conversation the book brings up about "little monsters" (bad thoughts/feelings). Willow and Pilu have an important conversation about how they (the monsters) can be so loud, "louder than your heart", and can be set off by anything and only brought back by saying terrible things. That feeling might be familiar to many readers because who hasn't said something in anger? Talking about emotions, being open about the things that made one upset, whether it is loneliness or a significant loss, and giving a sort of embodiment to them, became a starting point of realization for how to deal with feelings for Willow and Pilu. This situation, the monsters and the keeping them bottled up, was an analogy that is a good one to translate to the real world and talk to young readers in a way that makes sense to them, especially if they don't understand outbursts or why they feel angry.  There's an enjoyable re-readability quality to Pilu and I look forward to reading it again in the future when the finished copies are published. The artwork, the prose, all of it deserves a place on shelves and in hearts. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

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