Graphic Novel Review: Pistouvi written by Merwan, designed and directed by Bertrand Gatignol

Pistouvi written by Merwan, designed and directed by Bertrand Gatignol. English translation by Mike Kennedy. Magnetic, 202. 9781942367956. 192pp.

Friends Jeanne and Pistouvi (a fox) live in a tree together. There are birds nearby, some of which are enormous; a song from Jeanne’s ocarina drives them a little crazy, and keeps Pistouvi safe. A giant, the Tractor, clears the land. The Wind scatters magic seeds that grow in his wake. The friends lead a play-filled life, but there are dangers around, and a frightening change may be coming.

This is a strange graphic novel. It feels a bit like a parable, a legend, or a bedtime story. The art is kinetic and silly and threatening all at the same time. If I’d have found it when I was in grade school, it would be one of those books that haunted me forever. It reminds me, in the best way, of Luke Pearson’s Hilda graphic novels and Thomas Pico’s and Karensac’s Aster books.


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