Moonflight by Gill Lewis illustrated by Pippa Curnick

An epic adventure, appealing characters, secrets and betrayal, legends and curses, stories and lies all bind together in this exciting adventure full of danger and bravery. Gill Lewis has created a fantasy world that asks questions of our own and encourages children to seek out the truth and recognise what really matters in their lives.

Cover illustration by Pippa Furnick

Award winning author Gill Lewis has displayed a skill in surprising her readers over the years. There is an unpredictability in her range of titles that does, I think, add to her appeal. However, a common thread does tend to be animals although a story featuring rats would be a test of her ability to engage this particular reader as I have a longstanding fear of them. As a child I loved Reepicheep, C S Lewis’s fearless little mouse in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and now alongside him I will place the hugely appealing Tilbury Twitch-Whiskers. Gill Lewis has converted me!

Tilbury Twitch-Whiskers is the seventh-born rat of the seventh-born litter and, according to tradition, this means he is a rat in want of adventure. He just doesn’t know it yet because his mother is so anxious that her beloved son should come to no harm that she is overprotective of her little ratling. Tilbury, with his ‘weak bones’ is confined to home and is consequently a timid little chap

Tilbury and his family live with the other Dockland Rats in London and the curse of a legendary diamond hangs heavy over them all. At an annual ceremony it becomes clear only Tilbury can break the curse and save ratkind from looming disaster. To carry out his destiny, this timid young rat must leave the comfort of home for the very first time. Tilbury’s quest takes him to new lands, where huge cats and unfamiliar rats rule the streets and skies. Tilbury must risk everything to return the cursed jewel to its rightful owner.

In many ways this story contains all the recognisable elements of a traditional quest adventure but it does have a slightly different feel. There are stories told within the story and the emphasis on recognising the truth and also of understanding that others’ version of a story may be different to your own has parallels in our current world situation. There are also episodes which include an exploration of the abuse of power, the effect of greed on a community and a look at the class system through the treatment of the Sand Rats. Tilbury’s sister Nimble Quick is a feminist through and through and her determination not to be sidelined made me smile. Tilbury’s developing bravery and wisdom is admirable and his enquiring mind and mechanical aptitude balance his fearful nature. I think young readers will warm to him. I grew fond of Marfaire the Keeper, the wise guide to the young rats on their journey too.

There is a fair amount of what can be be described as ‘mild peril’ and violence plus deaths that sensitive readers may need to be prepared for so perhaps this is a book to be shared with an adult for the lower age of the middle grade audience. For readers aged 10 upwards this would be an exciting read and also one that would work read aloud in the classroom with lots of interesting topics for discussion.

Both the cover and the internal illustrations by Pippa Furnick add to the world building by Gill Lewis bringing the setting and characters to life effectively. Moonflight was published on 3rd March by David Fickling Books and I should like to thank the publishers for my proof copy. You can purchase a copy online at

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4 Responses to Moonflight by Gill Lewis illustrated by Pippa Curnick

  1. Anne, you really have to stop recommending books so powerfully when I already have an out of control TBR stack 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Reading Matters – children’s book news | Library Lady

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