Review: Pilu of the Woods

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Pilu of the Woods is a charming, full-colour graphic novel that tells the story of Willow, a sensitive young girl with a love of reading and nature.

When Willow loses her temper at her sister, Linnea, after she snapped back at a bully at school, we discover both sisters have been struggling since the death of their mother six months earlier. Their father, a professor, is often busy at work, leaving the girls to create their own support system.

Running away in a fit of anger into the woods, Willow meets Pilu, a magnolia tree spirit, who shares her fiery temper and underlying, deep-rooted feelings of hurt.

Pilu of the Woods is a sweet, beautifully illustrated book that balances numerous essential messages for children and tweens. Focusing on topics from the importance of caring and being careful in nature (for our own safety, as well as that of the environment), to bullying, family dynamics, and grief.

Author Mai K. Nguyen does a great job of explaining emotional control, anger, and the impact bottling our emotions up can have. Willow describes her feelings of anger, frustration and hurt as ‘little monsters’, speaking of how it feels like they take over and can be set off by even the smallest of things. Pilu of the Woods would be a great book to help any child or tween dealing with emotional control, grief, or bullying on how to healthily release their emotions and embrace how they feel (for better or worse).

With an underlying emphasis on the importance of kindness and compassion for ourselves as well as others, Pilu of the Woods is a beautiful book that I can’t recommend enough.

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
Graphic novel, Middle Grade
Available in paperback | on kindle
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Author: Bonnie Evie Gifford

*waves* I'm a writer and blogger from the not so sunny south coast of England. With bylines in Happiful Magazine, Harness Magazine, as well as on Counselling , Therapy, and Lifecoach Directories, I write about books, mental health, wellbeing, autism, and culture. When not writing, I can be found partially buried under a stack of books, hiding from the outside world. Find me lurking on Twitter:

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