A move to a new house and a mom on bed-rest are at the top of the list of challenging aspects of Tilly’s life, and her uncertainty and loneliness are difficult for a young girl to process on her own. Thankfully, in the subtly sweet story Tilly’s Moonlight Garden, Tilly isn’t alone for long, as she is introduced to a secret garden care of a fox’s nighttime visits.
The feeling of this story is somewhat timeless, with an airy magic about the storytelling, and of course, in Tilly’s experiences following the fox to the hidden garden in the middle of the night. On one of these nights, Tilly crosses paths with another young girl, though Tilly can’t help but question the reality of her experiences. Being young and in need of a friend, she doesn’t think on it too much, but simply looks forward to her late night visits to the garden. What child is going to question good luck, especially when she’s in need of a friend and a bit of happiness?
Tilly’s character, unsure of herself in a new town and new school, is also at an “in-between” age, wondering if she should be shedding some of her childhood interests, even though she’s not quite ready to do so. This theme is important in literature, for what better way for young readers to explore it safely than in a book? Told with emotion, but never coming on too strong, Tilly’s Moonlight Garden is a story of a young girl in a time of transition, and it provides a bit of magic while also addressing feelings that will surely be understood by young middle grade readers.
Dawn looks to middle grade fiction to connect her with her children, and she’s lining her shelves with books for her own kids, with one just passing out of this reading stage and two more heading toward it. Dawn blogs at my thoughts exactly.