Very endearing illustrations, in a story that dives deep into emotions. Main character is young Willow, who goes walking in the woods and meets a forest spirit girl (reminiscent to me of Aisling in The Secret of Kells film, although not quite as fierce). The forest girl Pilu -with green hair full of growing leaves- had run away from home and is now lost. Willow offers to help her find her way back- she lives in a magnolia grove that Willow thinks is the same one her mother took her to visit on hikes in the past. As the two journey through the forest (accompanied by a very cute dog) they exclaim over plants and mushrooms they find and discuss their struggles with emotions and family dynamics. Little flashbacks reveal between the lines that Willow lost her mother recently, is having difficulty getting along with an older sister who acts bossy, and has outbursts of anger. Pilu reveals that she feels ignored in her large family and sometimes feels that nobody cares about her. They counsel each other. The message seems to be: don’t bottle up your emotions, find ways to express the negatives instead of shoving them aside, and understand that yes, your family loves you, they’re just going through their own struggles too. Maybe I was a bit slow reading this- but it took me a while to realize that yes, Willow’s mother had actually died, and that those little blobby things with leafy ears and faces in the middle or lower part of image frames, represented the characters’ emotions. Or maybe I was just distracted by the lovely artwork. Really nice book, although the message felt a bit forced at times- almost like the kids are lecturing each other on how to manage emotions. The love of nature in here is very strong.
Borrowed from the public library.