Discover the magic of the wilderness in this breathtaking graphic novel reminiscent of The Secret Garden.

Poppy’s mother hasn’t been the same since Gran passed away. She stays inside and watches TV, unable to leave the couch. So maybe that’s why Poppy has started spending more time outside, taking her dog Pepper for walks around the neighborhood. When Pepper leads Poppy through a hole in the fence, she finds a forgotten forest that’s been there all along, as well as a new friend named Rob.

Rob teaches Poppy that you can find magic in the wilderness – if you know where to look! Poppy looks, and then she looks closer … and sees flowers opening before her eyes, watches animals slip into their hidden homes, and listens to the sound of water droplets falling gently on puddles, leaves and feathers. She can barely wait to tell Mum about everything she’s seen, and asks her to come see, too – but her mother rarely has the energy to leave the couch. Will Poppy ever be able help her mother see the beauty in the woods – and in life?

This beautifully illustrated graphic novel is an exploration of grief, love, and finding magic in the wilderness – and in ourselves.


Key Text Features



Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).


Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.


A magical showcase of non-verbal storytelling … Modeling pure innocence, Wildful is an outstanding graphic novel in which people discover the healing power of nature. STARRED REVIEW

- Foreword

Kurimoto employs ballpoint and ink to finely render delicate, richly detailed grayscale art in this sparsely worded debut, which elegantly conveys Poppy’s wide-eyed delight at each new discovery and the healing powers of connection and time spent out of doors.

- Publishers Weekly

A story of relationships and connection ... A necessary addition for celebrating the outdoors. STARRED REVIEW

- School Library Journal

A gorgeous graphic novel.

- Horn Book

Evokes a unique kind of curiosity, encouraging readers to quietly watch small worlds moving along deep in the woods.

- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

This gentle, poignant story will remind readers that simply being present with nature can offer a path toward healing and an appreciation of what it is to be alive.

- Booklist

It is the little details that really stand out here, making this graphic novel all the more magical.

- CM: Canadian Review of Materials

This is an exquisite homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Kurimoto employs words sparsely because he wants readers to focus on how he’s used ballpoint and ink to create delicate, richly detailed grayscale panels that are the core of his story.

- Globe and Mail

A truly inspired graphic novel ... Of special note is the artwork by Kurimoto, which is detailed, expressive and delicate.

- Winnipeg Free Press

Shadowy sepia tones ... sharpen the eyes for a spell of wondrous looking. A story of nature's consolatory powers.

- Toronto Star

Visual storytelling perfection ... Wildful is a breathtaking, wildly welcoming achievement. STARRED REVIEW

- Shelf Awareness

A memorable book that deals with important issues and affords readers a visual treat dedicated to nature's healing powers.

- Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

Captivating ... [Wildful] rivals The Secret Garden in its joyful reverence for nature.

- New York Times

A gentle, poignant tale of awakening to the subtle, healing wonders of the wild.

- Kirkus Reviews