What a gorgeously drawn book this is. I loved everything about the art in it, the simply drawn protagonists, the soft bright colors, clean cut panels and the lush green settings where most of the action unfolds.

Illustrated and written by Mai K. Nyugen, the story however was abstract for a children’s story book. It’s a little too poignant for kids, but not deep enough for adult readers. In-fact, there is very little plot – sad girl meets another sad girl, they talk about their family, moms and ‘monsters’ and then go back home. Sort of.

Readers first meet Willow, a little girl who has lost her mother, doesn’t have friends at school and is even bullied/made fun of by her peers. At home, she takes out her angst on her older sister and runs off with her dog to the woods to be on alone, that’s where she meets Pilu, a girl who seems to be her age, but isn’t an ordinary human.

Mai K. Nyugen’s art reminded me of the lovely animated movie ‘The Secret of Kells’, and while ‘Pilu of The Woods’ is fantasy fiction too, the story doesn’t have the charm, beauty or layers of the film. ‘Loss’ and family are the strongest themes in the book, but explored very superficially, like a customer skimming through a catalogue in a shop. So yes, the art is a treat to the eyes, but the story has no substance.

It’s a 3/5 from me.

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Ep 71 – Before The Coffee Gets Cold – Book Review