Carnegie Challenge – the home straight…

We are heading in the last 48 hours before the Carnegie winner gets announced and we are DETERMINED to get through the last few titles.

After a very animated conversation with a lovely librarian at this weekend’s Lighting the Future Conference (I’m sorry! I can’t remember who it was! Talked to so many lovely people!), who raved about it, we moved MIDNIGHT ZOO by Sonya Hartnett to the top of our final three reading pile.

This wasn’t a book we’d heard much about actually, so we’re pleased we embarked on this challenge and read it – as now we have discovered another wonderful book to tell people about.  See our comments below (hint: I LOVED IT) and add yours too as usual…

Okay, come on last two! We will finish you before the winner is announced!

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3 responses to “Carnegie Challenge – the home straight…

  1. I really hadn’t heard much about this but boy, am I glad I read it. Firstly, a word on the package. It is a BEAUTIFUL book. Fabulously designed, high production values, gorgeously illustrated inside – like so many books from our wonderful friends at Walker. It is a pleasure to read this in print…

    The story is of two Romany boys running away from war looking after their baby sister, who stumble on a deserted zoo. And after a bomb drops, the animals start to talk and tell their stories. It’s a bit of an odd concept, but the writing is just magical, and the animals are so well drawn it totally made sense when reading it. The boys story itself is heartbreaking, but the story and plight of the animals really got me. It also contains many thought-provoking points about the morals of zoo-keeping, and animal welfare.

    It was a real surprise actually. Last week I said Trash was my front runner, but I feel like it may have been toppled. A lovely, lovely book.

  2. I think TRASH might still be my favourite, but I completely LOVED this book, too — and think it might be a contender to beat out A MONSTER CALLS.

    The troble is with this year’s Carnegie shortlist that I keep reading books that knock my socks off, that have such pognant moments of truth that I immediately think: who can I recommend this book to…

    Part of our conversation with that enthusiastic librarian was about the age group for this book: that it might be too mature for a young audience, but I disagree. It is the kind of story that can be enjoyed in many levels. Different readers will take different things away, and I do feel like I would get more out of it with a second read, which I look forward to do in a year or so.

    The writing is beautiful. The characters, all of them, so vivid and emotionally complex. Brilliant, brilliant dialogue. This book breaks quite a lot of the “rules” of fiction, and it breaks them perfectly.

    I think this is a great book for parents to read with their older children (9 or 10 plus) to talk about what happens and how the characters react. It’s also a great read for people who like their books thought-provoking.

    Five out of five stars from me.

    (And I’ve only got half a book to go before completing the Carnegie reading challenge. I’ve already read SMALL CHANGE FOR STUART and am halfway through EVERYBODY JAM… Sarah B, do we dare take up the challenge for the Guardian prize??)

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