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Summary

A wonderfully nostalgic memoir detailing the fascinating lives of the working class family behind the phenomenally successful Chester Zoo.

When George Mottershead moved to the village of Upton-by-Chester in 1930 to realise his dream of opening a zoo without bars, his four-year-old daughter June had no idea how extraordinary her life would become. Soon her best friend was a chimpanzee called Mary, lion cubs and parrots were vying for her attention in the kitchen, and finding a bear tucked up in bed was no more unusual than talking to a tapir about granny's lemon curd. Pelican, penguin, or polar bear - for June, they were simply family.

The early years were not without their obstacles for the Mottersheads. They were shunned by the local community, bankruptcy threatened and then World War Two began. Nightly bombing raids turned the dream into a nightmare and finding food for the animals became a constant challenge. Yet George's resilience, resourcefulness and tenacity eventually paid off. Now over 80 years since June first set foot in the echoing house, Chester Zoo has achieved worldwide renown. Here, in her enthralling memoir, June Mottershead chronicles the heartbreak, the humour, the trials and triumphs, above all the characters, both human and animal, who shaped her childhood.

©2014 June Mottershead (P)2014 Headline Digital

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What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A captivating read.

What made the experience of listening to Our Zoo the most enjoyable?

Hearing about many of the animals that stayed at the zoo.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Our Zoo?

Haven't got one.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

None in particular.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Don't know. Don't watch films.

Any additional comments?

For me, the fact that it ends with June getting married leaves this book unfinished. I want to know what happened after that to both her, her family and the zoo. Think the narrator read it well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

enjoyable but abrupt ending

although I've given it a modest rating I did really enjoy this book but was dissatisfied with the very abrupt ending. it was like listening to someone reminiscing but being unable to ask questions to draw out further detail on the really interesting bits (not that any of it was dull). I think as the authors unusual life was so normal to her it was almost as though it was hard for her to gage which bits would leave the audience wanting further elaboration. Still I would thoroughly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Could not put it down

loved it!! could not put it down! draws you in as you wang to know more about ghe people and animals

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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love it , could not stop listening

Love hearing how Chester Zoo started. Going with your dream. Specially as it is local.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A little disappointing

After seeing the series on TV I was expecting a far more interesting read, but was disappointed. This is more a descriptive story of the animals and progress of the zoo, and was missing the gripping detail of family life with all the troubles that were faced. It was as if the writer was trying to skim through the facts as quickly as possible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing better than the TV show

Amazing story, made me cry twice with the dogs story and Christie the lion cub!

Would defo recommend to any reader young or old, and I'm 37 !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating true story of founding Chester Zoo

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A captivating true story of the trials and tribulations of the determination of George Mottershead and family in creating Chester Zoo

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

Which character – as performed by Emily Pennant-Rea – was your favourite?

June

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the death of Punch

Any additional comments?

The pronunciation of, in particular, the place names was somewhat lacking in accuracy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Truly Macical

Where does Our Zoo rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

A great true story. Really hope June will give us all another installment of her families adventures building a collection without bars.

What other book might you compare Our Zoo to, and why?

Our Zoo, is gripping and funny like the best James Herriot and Gerald Durrel stories. If you enjoyed My Family and Other Animals and Every Living Thing, I'm sure you'll love our zoo.

What does Emily Pennant-Rea bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Emily brings a real warmth to the story. Look forward to listening to more books read by Emily.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Chaos in the country

Any additional comments?

An around great listen. 5 Stars. Hoping for a second installment "our zoo two"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

another era

an insight into unusual 20th century entrepreneurship hard work dedication and a happy ending perfect

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book

I was so very sad when this finished and I wanted to hear more. Thoroughly recommend this beautifully read story from a bygone era