An imaginative tale casts the woes of the reality of growing older in this fantastic fable. Pistouvi and Jeanne in the beginning are thick as thieves, but will their friendship survive the test of time?
Pistouvi’s namesake story follows the almost nonsensical lives of the pair who reside in a treehouse in the middle of nowhere. There is an ominous sense of awareness as the story progresses—the “mocking” birds a notable source of strife and fright. The closer they get to Pistouvi, the more we witness the anxiousness emanating from the poor little fox. The days of whimsical play and banter have to eventually come to an end—but must they do so abruptly?
It is a fantastical story to follow, with beings and symbolism representative of events. Pistouvi can be likened to the inevitability that adulthood is imminent—with chapters crafted by writer Merwan to represent such topics. Grief, uncertainty, identity, and more assist in making both Jeanne and Pistouvi relatable characters. Illustrator Gatignol brings joy to each page—characters are expressive, unique, and a delight to follow from panel to panel.
Pistouvi is recommended for middle grade readers aged 8 to 14. While I do not doubt this, much of this graphic novel can be difficult to follow in parts without having a sense of what characters or events represent. A lesson plan or reading guide could be helpful to include with this title to assist in piquing critical thinking and reading comprehension. Otherwise, it makes for a thoughtful read and reminds us all of the simple pleasures of no responsibility and the unfortunate evolution into the world of being grown-ups.
Diamond provided a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Artist: Bertrand Gatignol
Publication Date: October 2020