“Tilly’s Moonlight Garden” by Julia Green
My son (now approaching his 1 year birthday, by the way) and I have an afternoon quasi-tradition: reading a chapter book. It began with “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” and has now continued with Julia Green’s “Tilly’s Moonlight Garden,” which I got my hands on an advance copy of before it’s October 2012 release. I read, my son chills out and plays with a toy or two while he listens for a bit. It’s good times. I’ll continue it.
“Tilly’s Moonlight Garden” is a lovely book. At first, it brings to mind the book-child of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” and “The Secret Garden,” as it’s the story of a young girl with family issues who moves to a new house and makes discoveries about things in the house and outside that no one else knows about, and the magic begins. However, Tilly’s family issues aren’t the stuff o fairy tale. Her Dad is a writer and something is wrong with her Mom – she spends a lot of time in bed. (No worries, it’s revealed.) A mysterious girl and a fox add elements of magic, but what actually happens is left wide open to speculation at the end.
“Tilly’s Moonlight Garden” will likely capture the imagination of girls in that tricky age right before “tween” hits. It’s the story of a young girl growing up a little, and emphasizes that sometimes reality and magic can co-exist and both be pretty cool. It’s a fairly easy read, and Tilly is an understandable heroine. For adult readers, you might find the dialogue and some of the characters a bit flat, but in all fairness this book wasn’t really written for us.
I liked it — it was a nice book to read aloud, too. I’ll keep it on my bookcase.