Hildafolk is a quick and sweet graphic novel for kids that made me want a backyard and a tent and a rainstorm. At the start, we see the little red cottage where Hilda lives with her mother: it looks very cozy, with yellow-lit windows and smoke coming out of a chimney, a spot of warmth in a rocky landscape. Inside, Hilda is listening to the weather report on the radio and reading a book about trolls. When she hears it’s going to rain, she asks her mom if she can sleep in the tent that night; her mom says she can.

But sleeping in the tent is only a little adventure: the next day, Hilda and Twig (her animal companion, who is like a small blue fox with antlers) go outside so Hilda can draw. She sees a rock that has a protrusion like a nose: she’s sure it’s really a troll, so she sketches it, but only after taking the precaution of tying a bell to the protrusion so she’ll hear it if the rock moves. Hilda and Twig fall asleep, then wake to the darkening sky and the sound of the bell—and things get more exciting from there.

I like Hilda’s boldness, and the whimsy of her world – the troll is not the only fantastical creature around. There’s also a sea-spirit (see picture below—depicted in a way that makes me think of Miyazaki, particularly Spirited Away), a wood man who comes into Hilda’s cottage when she leaves the door open (and brings firewood), a giant, and other creatures we only glimpse.

I found the art stronger than the writing—I love, for example, the panel showing rain falling on the outside of Hilda’s tent, with the KSSSHHH sound of the rain appearing as letters in the sky, or the panel showing Hilda’s bedroom in which you can see that she has a picture over her bed of a boat with the arms of a kraken reaching out of the water next to it. Not that the writing is bad—I thought some of it was quite funny—but the flow of the art was stronger, I thought. Still, I enjoyed this and will be reading the next one.

sea spirit

2 Responses to “Hildafolk by Luke Pearson
Nobrow Press, 2013 (Originally 2010)”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End Says:

    Aw, this looks very sweet. I am in the mood for sweet things, so yay! Great recommendation!

  2. Heather Says:

    Yay, I hope you like it!

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