‘The Emergency Zoo,’ by Miriam Halahmy

I love books with a historical setting, particularly the Second World War. When ‘The Emergency Zoo’ arrived through my post box, I was intrigued to see it centred around real events of the run-up to the Second World War that I knew nothing about – households being advised by the government to have their household vets put down to avoid them becoming a danger during air raids or from eating scarce rations.

This book tells the tale of two 12-year-old girls who decided to rebel…


Tilly and best friend, Rosy are dismayed to learn they’re soon to be evacuated from their homes in London to the supposed safety of the countryside.  They’re even more dismayed when they find out they can’t take their beloved pets with them but will have to have then put down!

The girls decide to take action and hide Bonny and Tinkerbell in a derelict shed they’d been using as a  den

When the other local children find out, they all want to hide their pets there too, and the Emergency Zoo is born.

However, with the threat of war and a looming evacuation day, how long can the children keep their secret and will the animals survive the war?

Before I was allowed to read this book, I lent it to a young animal-lover I know.  She said: “I rate it a 5 star, jaw dropping book.  Animal-lovers will love this book!” Lily (aged 9).

I also thoroughly enjoyed this story.  Its children vs. adults plot line and the  carefree days spent roaming from dawn til dusk by the children, reminded me of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.  This feeling was added to by overnight camps, a feast of jacket potatoes with lashings of butter straight from the campfire and secret codes.

This book is sure to be enjoyed by animal-lovers, history enthusiasts and fans of children outsmarting the grown-ups.

‘This is the children’s war, saving our pets.’

Library Girl.

*Thank you to Alma Books for sending me this copy to review*



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