The Emergency Zoo by Miriam Halahmy – Book Review including Giveaway
The Emergency Zoo by Miriam Halahmy – Book Review
Publisher – Alma Books Ltd
Pages – 254
Release Date – 26th May 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-1846883972
Format – paperback
I received a free copy of this book
It is late August 1939: Britain is on the brink of war, and preparations are under way to evacuate London’s children to the countryside. When twelve-year-old Tilly and her best friend Rosy find out that they will not be able to take their beloved dog and cat with them – and that, even worse, their pets will, along with countless other animals, be taken to the vet to be put down – they decide to take action.
The two girls come up with the idea of hiding them in a derelict hut in the woods and, when other children find out and start bringing their rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, their secret den turns into an emergency zoo.
Inspired by real events during the Second World War, Miriam Halahmy’s novel is a touching tale of courage, resourcefulness and camaraderie in desperate times, as well as a stirring defence of animal welfare.
August 1939, and the UK is just a few weeks away from entering the Second World War. Whilst the adults are concerned with making sure that their homes are ready, and making blackout curtains, the children have more worrying things to contend with; their pets.
Up and down the country, owners are destroying their animals, either by their own hands, or taking them to the vets to be put down. It was deemed the ‘kindest’ thing for them. The children of the UK disagreed.
For twelve year old best friends Tilly and Rosy, the thought of their beloved pets being put down was too much to bear, on top of them knowing that they are soon to be evacuated, and taken to the countryside, leaving their families behind.
The girls come up with a plan to hide their pets in an abandoned shed, just out of town. Word quickly gets around the local children, and over the course of the next few days, they have lots of them turning up with their animals, wanted them to be hidden too. From dogs and cats, to a parrot and a snake, the children have all gone against their parent’s, and brought their animals to a safe-haven – The Emergency Zoo.
Well what can I say? This book is superbly written. Ms Halahmy has created a beautiful, poignant book that is both captivating and heart-warming, and I loved every minute of it.
The backdrop to the book mimics real-life events that occurred at the start of WWII. Hundreds of thousands of pets were killed, as it was thought that the war would be too much for them, and killing them now was the kindest way for them to go.
Filled with love, friendship, and the desire to help one another in such a difficult time, the story brings to life the lengths that children will go to for their pets. The characters are all wonderfully written, and you can feel their emotions jumping out at you. I loved that they were able to pull off such an enormous task without the adults finding out. This is pure teamwork and loyalty to one another.
This book is a must read. It will hold you to the pages and drag you into the story. It will make you lose track of time, as you fully emerge yourself in it. Time that will be well spent.
Book reviewed by Stacey
I have been writing since childhood and started with poems, stories and diaries. I taught myself to play the guitar and wrote songs. I have published short and long fiction for children, teens and adults and three poetry collections.
My cycle of three Young Adult novels, HIDDEN, ILLEGAL and STUFFED are published by Albury Books and are available in both paperback and ebook. HIDDEN was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and was Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week.
I also review books, publish articles, I am a writing coach and I appraise manuscripts. I work with asylum seekers who want to write their stories through English PEN.
I love reading fiction for all ages, biographies of poets and authors, anything about polar exploration, autobiographies, poetry, history books and anything else which catches my eye.