This article is about one of the books from the Hilda series of graphic novels.
You may be looking for the Netflix-exclusive television series of the same name.
The book was loosely adapted into "Chapter 3" of the animated series on Netflix.
The story opens with a flashback set one year before the main story, during Hilda’s old life in the wilderness. Back there, Johanna had no trouble with Hilda going out on her own. Now that they live in Trolberg however, Johanna is quite reluctant of Hilda going out alone. When Hilda objects, she and her mom get into an argument. Johanna won’t budge, but promises Hilda they can watch the Bird Parade that night.
When a group of kids from Hilda’s school stop by at the house to ask if Hilda can come out to play, Johanna finally agrees. The kids promise to show Hilda some of the cool stuff they like to do. This however turns out to be playing pranks on people like ding dong ditch. While walking across town, Hilda thinks she sees some lightning, but the sky is clear. Finally, the other kids decide to throw rocks at some birds that are sitting in a tree. One of them ends up hitting a raven, and the animal falls to the ground unconscious. Hilda is horrified and hurries to the wounded animal, while the other kids decide to beat it. They briefly wonder if Hilda will be alright, but decide she can find her own way home.
The raven regains consciousness, and to Hilda’s surprise he can talk. The accident however has given him amnesia; he no longer remembers who he is or even how to fly. He only remembers he has to do something important. Hilda decides to take him home, even though she herself has no idea how to get there without the other kids help. Along the way, Hilda shows the Raven how she can find her way around Trolberg (like paying attention to the different kinds of doors, chimneys and lamp posts). They walk through the harbor, where they encounter a young Salt-Lion and it’s mother. The beast attacks them, but is scared off by a shadow of what appears to be the dreaded Rat King. It is however just three white mice. When her own attempts to find the way home lead nowhere, Hilda climbs a bell tower in hopes of seeing her home from there. While on top, they enjoy the view of the city, and Hilda tells the Raven how Trolberg was build on land once owned by Trolls.
At seven o’clock, Hilda has not returned home yet. Johanna gets worried and sends Twig out to find her. It’s already dark before he finally finds her and The Raven. The Raven is too tired to walk, so Hilda carries him while Twig leads them back home. At home, Johanna remembers the parade and thinks Hilda has gone there, so she grabs her jacket and goes there too. When she is gone, Hilda returns home. In the house, the Raven sees the newspaper announcing the Bird Parade, and remembers everything. He claims he needs to go to the parade and flies out the door. Hilda tries to follow him, but loses sight of him in the dark streets.
Hilda eventually makes her way to the parade and tries to find her mother and the raven, to no avail. She climbs on one of the floats and asks a man if he saw the raven, to which the man answers her this whole parade is to honor the giant raven. She spots her mother in the crowd and tries to reach her, but gets trapped in the crowd. Scared, Hilda drops to the ground, when suddenly the raven descends from the sky, now many times bigger than before. He picks up Hilda and carries her off into the sky.
The Raven explains his history; this giant form is his real form. Many years ago, he visited Trolberg and was mistaken by the population for the raven messenger of the god they worshipped. The next year, the town had a great harvest and everybody believed the Raven to be responsible, so the tradition of the Bird Parade started to honor the Raven. Only once did the Raven not show up, and through sheer coincidence, that year the town was struck by a bad harvest and the coldest winter in decades. Even though he can’t really influence the fortune of Trolberg, he still made it his duty to visit the town during each Bird Parade to bring hope to the people. In reality, the raven is a Thunderbird, and he demonstrates his ability to summon lightning.
The raven drops off Hilda with Johanna and flies away. While both mother and daughter are mad at each other for going somewhere without letting the other know where, they quickly reconcile and watch the parade together. Hilda realizes she can have many adventures in Trolberg as well, and Johanna wonders if, perhaps, she can come along on some so she and Hilda can keep an eye on each other.
Changes in the adaptation
The animated adaptation takes a lot of liberties with the story, to the point that that basically the only elements that remain are: the main premise (the Great Raven losing his memory on the day of the Bird Parade after being hit by a rock), the scenes of Hilda hanging out with Trevor and his friends, and the main characters.
Several elements from the graphic novel are left out of the animated adaptation:
- The flashback of Hilda’s life in the wilderness, one year prior to the main story.
- Trevor and Friends showing Hilda the town statue.
- Hilda getting lost in Trolberg and Johanna sending Twig to find her.
- Hilda and The Raven encountering a salt-lion and what they think is the Rat King in the harbor.
- Hilda and The Raven seeing some Trolls outside the city while in the bell tower.
- Johanna going to the parade herself in hopes of finding Hilda there.
- The Raven remembering who he is when he sees the newspaper.
While the following material is added:
- The animated adaptation gives Trevor a name, and a much bigger role in the plot. He finds out The Raven can talk and becomes determined to prove this to his friends. This leads to a different climax than the one in the graphic novel, in which Trevor captures the Raven and Hilda has to save him with Johanna’s help. When she saves him, she reminds him who he really is.
- The animated adaptation adds Alfur, Frida, David and the Sparrow Scouts as characters to the plot.
- In the animated adaptation, Johanna finds the Raven in her house and puts him outside. In the graphic novels, she never learns he was even at her house.
Other changes include:
- In the animated adaptation, Hilda and Johanna encounter Trevor and his friends in the streets, and Johanna encourages Hilda to play with them. This is evidently the first time she meets them. In the graphic novel, they come to pick her up at her house, and already know her from school.
- In the animated adaptation, Hilda is the one who is reluctant to go explore Trolberg, while Johanna wants her to go outside and shows her how to navigate around the city.
Hilda and the Bird Parade was nominated for three awards, but didn't win any:
- 2013: Angoulême International Comics Festival, Sélection Jeunesse
- 2014: The Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (ages 8–12)
- 2014: The Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artis.
- In november 2013, "Hilda and the Bird Parade" was included in the list of Notable Children’s Books of 2013 by The New York Times.