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Pilu of the Woods

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  54 reviews
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
Paperback, 160 pages
Expected publication: April 17th 2019 by Oni Press
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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
Dessa Mae
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"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
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
*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!
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pilu of the Woods is a beautiful and somewhat melancholic book about a girl named Willow, whose inner monsters make her act sometimes like a little brat. When she runs off to the forest, she meets a lost girl name Pilu and ends up helping her find her way home. They both have run away home and the circumstances are told from the kids' perspective and how they try to help one another. But the little monsters may not be monsters at all and the girls learn about that and many other things along the ...more
Teresa Grabs
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you get you take a little nature, a difficult promise, and a lot of heartache and stir it up? Pilu of the Woods. 

Willow and her sister, Lin, promised their mother that they would be strong. No one could foresee the future and no one expected to have to be strong. For Lin, that meant taking their mother's role, for Willow, that meant learning to listen.

Willow ran away from home after getting in trouble at school and saying mean things to her sister, who is dealing with her loss in a diffe
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.

Pilu of the woods

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.

Pilu of the woods

Hey, even though I knew I was being manipulated, the story made me cry, so it did its magic.

Rachel McKitterick
*thank you to Netgalley and Oni Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*

4 stars.

What a great little story this is. It was beautifully illustrated and had a rather sad yet important message to it. It's a story of loss of a family member, a mother and the emotions that causes people to feel. The story is told from Willow, the youngest daughters point of view. It's emotional but told in a way that doesn't make it too dark and heavy. It's a story about feelings aswell as frien
Bruna Miranda
First of all, the art and illustrations are beautiful. There's no doubt that this is a beautiful graphic novel that every type of reader can enjoy. I've read my fair share of graphic novels and books that discuss mental health, so believe me when I say that this story is AMAZING for kids and young people. It's about family, grief, loss, pain and mental health -- all of that is dealt with in a very sweet way.

Willow is a very relatable character and her journey with Pilu and Chicory is really inte
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
A heartwarming middle grade fantasy novel where we follows a girl named Pilu who ran away from home to the woods when she gets into a fight with her sister. There, she met Pilu, a forest spirit, who happens to ran away from home too.

This book is super cute and also has a great illustrations! I love the color scheme and the cartoony feels of the book. I adore the characters and their journey of trying to cope up with their current emotions. I really love the message of this book although I felt d
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A touching story about friendship, loss, and coping with big feelings. The illustrations are delightful, and the story stays with you after you turn the last page. Would recommend!
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jaw-droppingly beautiful illustrations accompany this heartwarming story about love, loss and dealing with your emotions.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at

Intensely beautiful in every way.

TL;DR – A beautiful story about overcoming your demons


Ragdoll Rating: Exceptional

Recommended For: Anybody who struggles with the nasty voices in their heads.

About the Book…

Poor Willow. Life feels so hard. She runs away from home into the forest after an argument with her sister, where she makes a discovery. Willow finds a forest spirit, Pilu, crying in the woods. Pilu has run away too, but now she is lost. Willow kn
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of Pilu of the Woods through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

If I was giving out awards, there is no doubt in my mind that Pilu of the Woods would be getting the ‘cutest graphic novel of the year’ award. It’s charming, sweet, and has the perfect balance of fantasy and wonder, while also exploring the expansive set of emotions that come with loss.
Pilu of the Woods is a fantasy about loss and friendship. The main character is named Willow, and early on in t
Jackie Bleich
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
I read this as an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, NetGalley and Oni press!

This was a really sweet story of friendship, loss, and expressing feelings. The artwork is whimsical and shows an excellent portrayal of bottled up anger, sadness, and anxiety. Something Willow has a lot of, what with dealing with bullies at school, constantly fighting with her older sister, and trying to stay strong during hard times. After Willow runs into Pilu and tries to lead her home,
Ms. Arca
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

What a very human, thoughtful piece of work. Willow is working on managing her big feelings. Her feelings get represented as monsters and they make her lash out at her loved ones and say things that she doesn’t believe in her heart, but make her feel better for that moment of release... we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Once she says them she doesn’t actually feel better...heaps of guilt and regret only make her feel worse.

Willow is managing not fitting in at school, the loss of her mother
Melody Leung
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review:

Willow loves nature. Her mother used to take her to the willow trees in the forest near their house. Her father is a professor who researches growing things, like trees and mushrooms. When Willow can't sleep, her older sister Lin is always there for her. Since their mother passed away, Willow has been bottling up her grief and anger. This time, she yelled mean things at her sister and ran away in the woods, where she meets Pilu, som
Tati Dengo
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sequentials
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Pilu of the Woods is a tender pick-me-up suitable for children and adults alike. 

The main character on the cover is Willow, a child who has lost her mother and is struggling with all the (very visible) demons that come with that. (Another book that does this very well is Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes.)

Willow runs to the forest and finds Pilu, a girl of the woods who is crying because she also has troubles with her family. 

Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The art is beautiful, but the writing needs some work. There are some weird diversions into scientific discussion. The information is good, but there is maybe too much of it and it's presented in such a way that it interrupts the rhythm of the story. I also felt that the author's message got in the way of the storytelling. Not every story for children needs to have a message and, when they do, they need to still care about the story and, for me, the message/moral was too intrusive and ruined the ...more
Darcy Roar
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphics, kids
For kids - 4 stars, for me - 2 stars. The art is quite lovely (it's black and white in the ARC I read, but it'll be in color for the full release which should look Amazing!) & the trappings of the story are quite nice. I love all the nature facts & how very fond of the woods Willow & her family are. Nguyen also does a wonderful job of making the characters imperfect in a very human way. They yell, they cry, they regret & it feels very true. The downside of this work is that it ha ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sencillamente mi nueva novela gráfica favorita y sin duda alguna formará parte del top 10 de este año. Este libro es hermoso por donde lo veas. Las ilustraciones son maravillosas y la paleta de colores va preciosamente con la historia.
La historia te hace reflexionar en como vives tu vida a lo que le das importancia y al como reaccionas cuando algo no te gusta o molesta. Nos enseña que nuestros demonios internos no se van a ir, son parte de nosotros, pero si que podemos aprender a vivir con esto
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am 41 years old and I am not to proud to say I cried reading this booking more than once ! This is a beautiful book both the artwork and the story. It follows willow who after arguing with her sister runs into the woods and meets Pilu, she tries to help Pilu find her way home after she has argued with her mother. The pair on their journey home learn together, dealing with emotions, loss and how to be 'strong'. This is such a wonderful book for loss and coping with loss I wouldn't just st recom ...more
Environmentalism and anti-bullying messages combine in this youthful graphic novel, which visually is half manga and half classical woodcut. That said (and in case you're wondering, it is a wonderful amalgam that really works – even if one girl here is stuck with frilly-edged underwear as clothing) it's a bit take-it-or-leave-it. For one thing, you have to be on board with having pointless dogs as sidekicks. So I took against things for sure, but I admired others, so I certainly suggest people t ...more
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Ok this is one of the cutest things I've ever read. The art style is very very cute and perfect for this kind of story, it sort of has a My Neighbour Totoro vibe with the nature and magic and young girls and the cuteness. There are definitely some messages it's trying to convey and I think reading this as an adult those do come across as a bit children won't notice that and that is the intended audience... I'm guess
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Gorgeous story on family, friendship, nature, and being in tune with your emotions. After bottling up her feelings for so long, Willow races off into the forest. She encounters a forest spirit, Pilu, related to magnolia trees. Pilu has also run away from home, and needs help getting back. As they journey through the woods together, their friendship grows, and that it's alright to be sad, to mourn. Although the illustrations are a cartoon style, reading this book I felt like I could smell the fre ...more
Katie Lawrence
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel, arc
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
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
For fans of the Hilda series, this offers a similar whimsical, adventuring character. Willow has trouble managing her emotions and after a particularly bad day, storms into the forest. She has spent countless hours there exploring with her father, so when she meets a tree spirit, named Pilu she's able to guide her home. The two become friends and learn that suppression isn't always the best tactic when it comes to emotions.

I adored this. It made me cry, so be warned, but the art was so immensel
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

This might be one of my favorite MG graphic novels yet!

Pilu in the Woods follow the joyous adventure in the woods and thought-provoking realizations of Willow, together with a wood fairy whom she instantly found a friend in, Pilu.

Mai Nguyen’s art style is truly commendable! And the illustrations evoke pure bliss from me as a reader who takes such joy in pretty drawings ❤

Matthew Noe
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was adorable. The art is fun and the message is important. I particularly appreciated how clear it is made that, yes, it IS okay to FEEL and CRY. I would have loved to have this book when I was younger - being a young boy who openly cried didn't exactly make school-life fun.

I do wish we had found out more about Willow's Mom though; maybe we'll get a follow up. I'd love to learn more about the woods and Pilu!

*I received an ARC from the publisher*
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