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The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
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The Midnight Zoo (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Sonya Hartnett, Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)

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131991,855 (3.73)8
Member:Eurekas
Title:The Midnight Zoo
Authors:Sonya Hartnett
Other authors:Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)
Info:Candlewick (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Magical Realism

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The midnight zoo by Sonya Hartnett (2010)

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A beautifully written, moving and thoughtful fable about war, hope and freedom. Hartnett is one of the most gifted writers of children's and young adult fiction and this wonderful novel is another example of her remarkable talent. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Hartnett's writing is still pretty good, but I really haven't enjoyed most of her work for younger readers--it's so much more straightforward and to-the-point. This just lacked something her other books have, the feeling of her other books--that surreal wandering that makes her stories so compelling.

Not bad, maybe okay for younger readers (upper elementary/middle school, maybe?) but not one I'd short-list when introducing someone to her writing. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this. I thought it might be too short, but it turned out to be okay. It follows three gypsy kids on the run during WW2. It's very interesting to see the two boys take on the role of their parents and provide for their younger sister- despite how annoying they find her. Andrej and Tomas end up in a zoo in a ruined village, and try to piece together what's happening to the world. It was different than anything I've read before, and a very unique tale. I enjoyed it a lot, but I found the ending a bit flimsy. ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This book is not a children's book, maybe a young adult could handle it, but many of the themes are brutally realistic. It centers around three gypsy children whose parents are murdered by german soldiers. Only Uncle Marin and a child of the tribe are killed in the narrative, but it is obvious that the others are marched off to dig their own graves and then get in them. Three children were in the woods when the soldiers came, Andrej, his brother Tomas and their baby sister Wilma. Because of this they survive. They run and are refugees along with a great many other people. Eventually they make their way to an abandoned zoo in a bombed out city. The animals are locked in their cages, starving. The animals talk to the children and the children give them all the food they have. It is a very moving story in which the stories of some of the animals are shared. The times are absolutely desperate and all of the animals and children are victims of the war, as are most of the people alive and dead around them. It is heart wrenching but has much to say about grace under pressure. An admirable book, but I would not have anyone under 14 read it. ( )
1 vote Eurekas | Nov 25, 2012 |
Set in WWII, two young (Rom) gypsy boys witness the killing of their community by the hands of soldiers. Deep in the woods, they seek refuge. Walking by night and hiding my day they adhere to their mother's last works "run!"

They carry a bundle containing their baby sister. While it would have been easier to leave her behind, their moral/ethical base commands them to take care of her.
Tired, weary and hungry the bedraggled, motley family stumble upon a zoo deep in the woods.

This book contains magical realism and makes a strong statement regarding freedom. The animals in cages have no one to care for them. While the three children are not in cages, they also have no one to feed or shelter them. They trapped by war, cruelty and the need to escape bigotry and hatred.

While at times it felt as though the author was pounding home the theme in a heavy handled overdose of a striking message, still I recommend this book.

It is indeed a winner. ( )
  Whisper1 | Mar 31, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sonya Hartnettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McNaughtt, JonathanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If the old bell had been hanging in the steeple it would have rung to announce midnight, twelve solemn iron klongs which would have woken the villagers from their sleep and startled any small creature new to the village and unaccustomed to the noise.
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Having courage, Tomas had learned, didn't mean things would turn out well, and that you would be all right. Sometimes, Tomas knew, being courageous was the least safe thing in the world.
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Her muzzle wrinkled, and Andrej saw a glimpse of teeth and pale tongue. 'They smell the same, ' the lioness murmured. 'My cubs smelt as she does. Like pollen.' She breathed deeply again, and Andrej saw the missing cubs returning to her on the wings of the baby's perfume. 'All young ones must come from the same place,' she said: then sat down on her haunches, seemingly satisfied.
Under cover of darkness, two brothers cross a war-ravaged countryside carrying a secret bundle. One night they stumble across a deserted town reduced to smouldering ruins. But at the end of a blackened street they find a small green miracle: a zoo filled with animals in need of hope.
A moving and ageless fable about war, and freedom.
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Twelve-year-old Andrej, nine-year-old Tomas, and their baby sister Wilma flee their Romany encampment when it is attacked by Germans during World War II, and in an abandoned town they find a zoo where the animals tell their stories, helping the children understand what has become of their lives and what it means to be free.… (more)

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