Hilda and the Bird Parade


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Hilda and the Bird Parade


  • Words: Luke Pearson
  • Art: Luke Pearson
  • Colors: Luke Pearson
  • Publisher: Nobrow Press
  • Price: £11.95
  • Release Date: Oct 11, 2012

As delightful and bewitching as its predecessors.

Last year’s Hilda and the Midnight Giant from Nobrow Press cemented creator Luke Pearson’s place as one of the most exciting new talents on the U.K. comics scene. A follow-up to 2010’s Hildafolk, it continued to chronicle the adventures of its titular heroine, the spirited and determined young Hilda, as she defended the remote home she shared in the valley with her mother from an aggressive group of invisible elves, and became inadvertently involved in matchmaking two giants of legend.

At the end of that entry in the series, events had conspired against Hilda and her mum, necessitating their move to live in the city. It’s in that more urban setting of Trolberg, some time later, that we are reacquainted with the characters in Hilda and the Bird Parade. Away from the beauty of the Scandinavian countryside Hilda is struggling to adjust to life in this concrete world. On a trip out with her school friends an act of wanton cruelty leads to her befriending a talking bird and becoming separated from her chums. Lost and desperate to find her mother before the local tradition of the “Bird Parade” begins that evening, Hilda will soon discover that the city has its own special brand of wonder as well…

It’s a testament to the true all-ages appeal of Pearson’s last book that Hilda and the Midnight Giant was nominated in both the Best Book and the Young People’s Comic Award categories in the recent British Comic Awards, the results of which were announced at the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds last week (for the record it won in that Young People’s Comic Award section). If the readership were at all worried that Hilda and the Bird Parade’s relocation of the action to a city setting would strip Hilda’s world of some of its magic then Pearson is more than up to the task of proving that this new locale is just as full of a sense of awe as the previous rustic setting was.

The book’s main plot capitalises on that great fear of both children and parents alike, with mother and daughter torn asunder and frantically trying to locate each other. From Hilda’s perspective, alongside her new avian pal, this leads to something of a voyage of discovery of her new home, and an appreciation of its attractions, inhabitants, and environs. Pearson neatly dovetails this main story focus with the book’s other plotlines surrounding the tradition of the Bird Parade and Hilda’s slightly strained relationship with her mother, and in so doing presents probably the sweetest ending of any comic you’re likely to read this year.


Once again this volume of Hilda’s adventures mimics the European album format and embraces that usual Nobrow practice of the book feeling like an art object in and of itself. Pearson’s ever expressive cartooning comes into its own here in conveying Hilda’s child’s eye view of the city she is stranded in, with the carefully selective colouring giving Trolberg as distinctive an identity as the verdant fjords had in the previous tome.

If there’s any justice in the universe then I fully expect that one day public libraries will be as packed with Hilda albums in their section for kids as they were full of Asterix and Tintin ones in my childhood. Hilda and the Bird Parade is as delightful and bewitching as its predecessors and, I suspect, just as likely to be picking up both critical acclaim and much deserved awards over the next year. If you’re looking for a suitable comics-related Christmas present for a younger reader, you couldn’t go far wrong with the Hilda books. They have an undeniable appeal to the child in us all.

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  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Nov 27, 2012 at 3:37am

    EVERYONE should read Hilda! L.O.V.E.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Nov 30, 2012 at 12:25pm

    Absolutely. Such wonderful albums and I hope this one is up for awards for 2012 as well.

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