Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Sometimes I feel like I could just disappear and no one would notice
Is that why you ran away? To disappear?"
"I don't really think things can just disappear
"Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not important
doesn't mean it's gone. That's how it is in nature."
Very true, especially those stinging nettles that you only seem to see about one second before you stroll stridently right though them
Here's the publisher to tell you what might happen if you pick this up and go down to the woods today
"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 spirit who can't find her way back home - which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow's mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.
But the journey is long, and Pilu isn't sure she's ready to return home yet - which infuriates Willow, who's determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow's emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger
and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all."
For this, dear readers, is very much a book about feelings, and also regrets, for Willow has fairly recently lost her mother and is still so very, very far from coming to terms with it. So when she meets Pilu, she feels duty bound, nay compelled, to help her friend get home, despite the fact that Pilu is still clearly working through her own maternally conflicted emotions herself.
I very much liked how this work explored coping with grief, when a loved one is suddenly, unexpectedly taken from you. The immense emotions it can bring out, plus working out how to get past dealing with all the things you didn't say and also perhaps the few you did that you wish you hadn't.
This book, perhaps because it is most definitely aimed at being a truly all-ages work, doesn't dramatise or indeed even show Willow's mother's passing, instead alluding to it by showing the circumstances that lead up to it and then consequently making clear what terrible tragedy occurred. It's handled in a very, very sensitive manner that would be fine with some parental guidance even for littlies.
Artistically, the main character of Pilu reminded me hugely of the titular character in Emily Hughes' illustrated prose work WILD about a little feral girl who is found in the woods and resists all attempts to tame her by her ever more despairing adoptive family. The art style here with the big, plaintive eyes of both characters set amongst the friendly, flowery forest will certainly make you think of many a current all-ages work such as CUCUMBER QUEST, SPACE BOY, HILDA and NIGHTLIGHTS, though this certainly has charms all of its own too.