Pilu of the Woods is a graphic novel that’s beautiful in every way possible. The story is one of redemption, of overcoming your inner demons and admitting that fear sometimes gets the better of us and we must learn to move past it to recognize what really matters. It’s a moral story through and through, representing the grief that many kids don’t know how to express. On another note, it’s an ode to being true to yourself and feeling okay with being different from other kids. Eccentric interests may not be understood by everyone but for every interest, there’s somebody else who’s equally infatuated. No one is alone – that’s the key element of the narrative.
The artwork is stunning, filled with rich, intricate details and wonderful stylistic choices. The natural scenes have a woodcut feel, and every leaf, blade of grass, and flower is painstakingly created. There’s a reverence for nature that shines through in the art and it amplifies the message of wonder for the natural world. Willow’s infatuation with nature becomes all the more apparent as she runs through the woods, discovering more and more intimate details of the forest. The real brilliance lies in the artist’s representation of grief monsters bottled up inside. They have a consistent presence, representing Willow’s mood in a fascinating way. This interpretation is a great way to teach kids about emotions they may be too young to understand. I just can’t say enough about how smart and beautiful this art is.
Pilu of the Woods is a great teaching moment for kids who are struggling with grief and need a way to understand what they’re feeing. It’s a good reminder of the beauty in the world for adults who may have forgotten. Above all, it’s a beautiful piece of art that deserves to be read and enjoyed.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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