Tilly's Moonlight Fox ISBN: 9780192757913
Published by Oxford University Press, 2012
In this delicately written book about a child with a serious anxiety problem due to changes in her family, we meet Tilly. She has just moved to a large, old house, far different from the terraced house she lived in before, and her mum is pregnant and very ill with high blood pressure. She must stay in bed. There is real danger for her and the coming baby, and dad is worried too and busy with his writing. The new school is not a success either, and Tilly is feeling very lost and alone. Nothing is normal. These problems manifest themselves in dreams which seem to Tilly very real indeed. In fact, sometimes she sleepwalks during the night and gets as far as the garden where she has seen a fox. As a toy fox has played a big part in Tilly's life, the fox fascinates her, as does a neglected garden she finds behind her garden gate. In her dreams she follows the fox into the secret garden and meets there a girl called Helen, and they become friends of sorts. Meanwhile, Tilly's new brother has been born, and while he is premature and very tiny, he and mum will both be fine. At this point, Tilly begins to realise that she has confused real life with her dreams, and her friend Helen is the old lady who owned the house years before and whose dolls house she has found in the attic. These things are handled with great sensitivity and even at the end Tilly isn't sure what has really happened and what hasn't. Supportive parents and a loving grandmother get her through her terrible anxieties, and she finds a new friend at school who helps too. The writing is superb, particularly the wonderful descriptions of the garden and of Tilly's feelings. There are magical charcoal drawings that add much to the atmosphere. A fine story.