We Bought A Zoo

We Bought A Zoo

Book - 2008
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The remarkable true story of a family who move into a rundown zoo- already a BBC documentary miniseries and excerpted in The Guardian, In the market for a house and an adventure, Benjamin Mee moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. His friends and colleagues thought he was crazy. But in 2006, Mee and his wife with their two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety Alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man, but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who has devised a long term escape plan and implemented it. Nothing was easy, given the family's lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy. We Bought a Zoo is a profoundly moving portrait of an unforgettable family living in the most extraordinary circumstances.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780385666213
Branch Call Number: 636.08890922942353 Mee
Characteristics: 261 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Delightful, engrossing, and honest. This book was a great read. I wish there were a few more pictures of the other animals and staff, or a map of Dartmoor Zoo, but these are small complaints.

Mar 20, 2015

The movie was great!mand I can't wait to read the book!

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 17, 2014

A former newspaper columnist and his young family buy a rundown zoo in the English countryside. Within a year, despite monumental financial uncertainties and heartbreaking personal tragedy, and with remarkable ingenuity, imagination and courage, they manage to licence and open the revitalized zoo. For anyone who loves animals, this is a remarkable story of a family who lived their dreams.

Apr 06, 2013

Waited for ages to see this. Thoroughly enjoyed the story, all the more so for being based on a true story. Maggie is totally cute!

mkarolyi Sep 14, 2012

A compelling memoir (although it could have done with a bit more editing to improve the flow of the writing; given the author is a journalist, I was surprised by the lack of continuity in some sections). I read the book after watching the ('romanticized') Hollywood movie and found the book much more satisfying than the movie. I, too, would like to see the BBC series that was made during the actual purchase and renovation process. It's too bad Hollywood took out some of the best bits of the story and condensed the rest to make it more 'sell-able' to an American audience.

Sep 04, 2012

This is very interesting, though not always all that compellingly written. Haven't seen the movie yet but plan to, but have the feeling many liberties were taken.... Would really like to see the BBC TV series, Ben's Zoo, made during the renovation and reopening of the Dartmoor Zoological Park (DZP). It sounds as though it would be very interesting too.

Jul 01, 2012

Not just based on a true story, this is the story of how a family bought a rundown zoo in England and, with a lot of sweat, tears, fear, and even a few laughs, were able to open the zoo to overwhelming success. You can even go in the internet and see their web page. Fun to read and interesting to think about, it really shows you can do anything you set your mind to do if you are willing to work for it. Inspirational.

jdaigle3 Jun 25, 2012

Great read, story is a little more disjointed than I'd like so the flow was off a bit. FAR better than the movie, although both are equally heart wrenching at points.

May 29, 2012

A great story about people who care about animals, but the truth of the story doesn't come out; wild animals should not be kept in confinement for human entertainment.

Incinerated_Newt May 03, 2012

A fun read, but not as engaging as I'd hoped. I'm curious to see the movie, though.

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