The Midnight Zoo

By Sonya Hartnett

Illustrated by Andrea Offermann

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.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 12+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406331493
  • Published: 01 Nov 2010
  • Price: £8.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 208

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Customer reviews


'A heartbreaking, magical story of life and liberty.' The Bookseller

'A moving and original story with timeless relevance.' The Daily Mail

'An exquisitely written, illustrated and produced novel.' The Irish Times

'Alternately lyrical and stark, and it manages to combine adventure with a more thoughtful exploration of the nature of freedom and hope. Offermann’s beautiful pencil illustrations at the beginning of each chapter evoke the message at the heart of this book, that though cages come and get you, the determination to endure will win out.' Booklist

'This is storytelling at its best!' National Geographic Kids

'The story ends in a dream-like manner that leaves the reader with a powerful sense of sympathy for the characters' The Use of English (The English Association Journal for Tachers of English)

'There are lessons to be learnt about life in this book.' Teen Titles

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