Our Zoo

  • by June Mottershead
  • Narrated by Emily Pennant-Rea
  • 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- jillian grant

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.
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- Danielle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-11-2014
  • Publisher: Headline Digital