Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

What a great book! I saw this on another website and decided to try it out. I teach fourth grade, and while I totally love this book, I'm not sure that my current class would connect with the text in the way that I did. Here's the down low.

Basically, the story's setting is in the midst of a war. The author doesn't quite come out and say which war, but based on clues in the text, students can narrow it down. The story follows Andrej, Tomas, and their baby sister Wilma, who have witnessed their family's execution, and are now on the run. They discover an abandoned zoo, filled with animals who can talk. Each animal shares their story, as the boys elaborate on their own.

I'm thinking about using this book as a novel study with a select group of higher functioning students in my class, instead of as a read aloud. I think that a few boys in my class read at high enough text levels, would be intrigued by the war aspect, and might be amused by the fantastical animals speaking element.

Although the text seems long, it is actually quite the quick read. The pictures and contrasting font and background colors are captivating, and truly add to the story.

TeachersPayTeachers Novel Study

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