Book Review: Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green

Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green is a children's book recommended for ages nine and older. It is a story that will hit home for children and adults alike. Tilly's family moves into a new house, a large house that Tilly's mother has inherited. Tilly's father is a writer, often lost in his own work, and her mother is pregnant and ill enough that she is restricted to bed-rest. In her fears of the new home, new school, her mother's health, and becoming a big sister, Tilly is feeling a little lost. A wild fox in the garden and a mysterious girl leads Tilly to a secret garden. A new girl at school, Christmas, and family changes lead Tilly to question just what is real and help her grow.

Tilly's Moonlight Garden is a coming of age story with a strong sense of learning to accept yourself and your family for who they are. Tilly misses her best friend and feels lost in a big house and no neighbors to play with. Her parents are dealing with their own concerns, and obviously love Tilly (which she never doubts), but she is left to her own devices most of the time. Exploring the garden and house is entertaining to a young girl with a solid imagination, but Tilly craves more. It is only in her nighttime wanderings that the fox and mysterious girl make Tilly feel that she is having adventures. I connected with Tilly right away, including her fears about being made fun of for liking 'childish' things by classmates and worried that others are mocking her even when they might not be paying any attention to her at all. I often felt that same way as a child, and can only imagine that it is common. Tilly grows, makes connections, and channels her creativity in constructive and positive ways.

I recommend Tilly's Moonlight Garden to children that share any of Tilly's insecurities. Readers facing a move, illness in the family, family additions, or just spending a lot of time alone will find much in Tilly's mind and story that they can relate to. I will be looking for more by Green to add to my children's library as they grow up.
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