This is wonderful graphic novel for kids of any age with gorgeous nature scenery for anyone who remembers exploring the woods.
I originally picked up this book since the art looked really good and I wanted to see what the next generation of comic artists will be making plus support a fellow Vietnamese American! Nguyen also did a nature-focused comic that dealt with flooding in a Kickstarter anthology that I backed in 2012 (omg it’s crazy how long it took for her to get her own graphic novel), so I’m glad she continued with comics.
Willow runs away with her dog to the woods after a fight with her sister and finds the lost forest spirit Pilu. I liked the friendship scenes where they’re both explaining some random cool facts about mushrooms or flowers. Also, Willow has a problem with “monsters” that she pushes and hides away, which is a metaphor for her intense feelings that end up manifesting at the end of the book. You will want to give Willow a hug by the end of story as it slowly reveals that she’s still suffering from her mother’s recent death and missing her mother terribly.
I really enjoyed reading this and hope that there will be more stories from this creator! The way that she draws people, spirits, animals, and nature is quite cute. My favorite part were the cute monsters that show up in the background whenever Willow gets angry or super sad; they look like forest spirits from a Miyazaki movie. Nguyen has a talent in drawing scenery and has a great choice in color palette~
It comes out in April 2019 and definitely a book that will spark joy as it’s a good book to reread!
Note: I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m looking forward to the new gen of artists from Oni Press if this was just a taste of their 2019 Graphic Novels!