When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinskis’ villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.  I have not read this novel; however  I did see the film.


Another year of the A to Z Challenge has come to an end.  I enjoyed researching all these books connected with the Second World War and having read many of them, I am looking forward to reading many more.  I appreciate all the visitors to my posts during this month and I’ve enjoyed visiting many posts myself.  I plan to continue to visit posts now that the challenge is over.  If you missed any of the books I wrote about, you can access a menu of the full list by clicking the link at the top of my screen.  My posts from other A to Z years are there too.  Please enjoy this slide show of my entire 2018 challenge.

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17 responses

  1. Jz says:

    I hadn’t heard of this one – but I’ll be looking out for it.
    In fact, I’ve picked up a few good ideas along the way – thank you. 🙂
    Happy Challenge End!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. eschudel says:

    Thanks for adding some great books to my TBR pile!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Holton says:

    Congratulations on finishing the challenge! As always, this was very well done and I got a lot out of it. Certainly a bunch of great book suggestions.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kim says:

    I’d like to read the Zookeeper’s Wife. Will have to add to my book list.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Maryann – I never saw the film, nor read the book … perhaps I should – I’ll see if it’s in the library … thanks for reminding me about it. Well done on reaching Z … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have provided a wonderful month of books, known and unknown to me. It was a successful theme choice, beautifully presented. I know you will continue on writing a blog that sets a high bar for the rest of us. I look forward to that.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. calensariel says:

    Yep, this one is on my TBB list, too. I would love to see the movie. Was it good?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Liam says:

    Congrats on completing another terrific A to Z!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Rowena says:

    Mary Ann, I think I’ve picked the book up second hand somewhere, or perhaps I gave it to my Dad for his birthday. Will have to chase it up. Sounds like a great read, although I might have more success getting through the DVD.
    Congratulations on getting through the A-Z. I posted my summary today and have added a piece of music to each of my letters to Dead Artists.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Arlee Bird says:

    A friend recommended this film to me and now with your recommendation I think I need to put this on my to-watch list.

    Congratulations on completing another A to Z Challenge. You had another interesting topic this year. Thanks for participating. Be sure to answer the A to Z Survey if you haven’t done so yet.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person