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.

Thank you to Bookbridgr and headline for kindly sending me a copy to review it really made my week .

Me and the kids have been really enjoying this series and most weeks I have cried .So to read the actual story was a privilege .

It was great to have a even more personal insight into the history and lives of those living at the zoo and how it was built .

I have never visited Chester zoo but love animals and I think every child has had a dream of living with lots of animals .

Junes family may not have had lots of wealth and greatly struggled but they filled their hearts and homes with added family in the form of animals .

In this book there are many great tales of these animals and the close bonds made .

A really enjoyable interesting book which accompanies the tv series really well .

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