The Midnight Zoo, Hardback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A brilliantly told magical story that questions what it means to be free.World War II, Eastern Europe: Tomas and his younger brother, Andrej, have fled their Romany encampment which has been besieged by the Germans; they carry Wilma, their baby sister, in a sack.

In an abandoned, bombed-out town, the children discover a zoo.

In it are a wolf and an eagle, a monkey, bear, lioness, seal, chamois and llama.

The animals tell their stories to the children as they try to begin to understand what has become of their lives and, when they try to figure out a way to release the animals, what it means to be free.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9781406331493

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

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.

Review by

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 <i>feeling</i> of her other books--that surreal wandering that makes her stories so compelling.<br/><br/>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.

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