I read Pilu of the Woods by accident. I was looking at graphic novels and meant to just look at it, but it got into my purchase pile.
And even though it was a surprise find, I strongly recommend Mai K. Nguyen and their graphic novel about loss, family, grief and coming to terms with it all. In fact, so much so that I am planning on donating my copy to my library in honor of a friends first grand-baby. (Which I know might be odd, but somehow the theme of life and loss “clicked” for me.)
But as much as I do like this book, there are a few holes for me. The illustrations are slightly different from what I am used to. They are lovely, but perhaps too dull for the theme of nature. Not to say there is no color, just the majority is muted when perhaps a bolder red might be needed, or a richer green might make things pop with the lighter tones. And not to say they are not fun or lovely (the squirrel was adorable; the magnolia blossoms simple, yet elegant) or not a complement to the text, I was just looking for something “more.”
There is also information missing about the characters such as the mother’s story. Yet, since this is a book about lose (and a good example of how we deal, or do not, with it) these pieces are slowly brought to the front.
The story is simple on the surface: Willow’s emotions (especially the bad ones) are all bottled up, which she thinks will help her keep a promise she made to her mother. But what it does is just keep festering. And as Willow’s new special friend of nature tells her, nobody likes to be ignored.
While aimed at ages 10 and up (I could see as young as a strong 8-or-9-year-old reading, yet, there is a lot of context they might not get) and even as “old” as a mid-teen (yet the story’s look is a bit on the young side). I completely related to many of the things Willow went through (even though my journey was at a much older age). This is just a beautiful book that can resonant with many on different levels.
A journal to organize your own nature journey is included.