When Benjamin Mee decided to uproot his family and move them to an unlikely new home—a dilapidated zoo where more than 200 exotic animals would be their new neighbors—his friends and colleagues thought he was crazy. Mee’s dream was to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. The grand reopening was scheduled for spring, but there was much work to be done and none of it easy for the novice zookeepers. Tigers broke loose, money was tight, the staff grew skeptical, and family tensions reached a boiling point.
Then tragedy struck. Katherine, Ben’s wife, had a recurrence of a brain tumor, forcing Benjamin and his two young children to face the heartbreak of illness and the devastating loss of a wife and mother. But inspired by the memory of Katherine and the healing power of the incredible family of animals they had grown to love; Benjamin and his kids resolved to move forward, and today the zoo is a thriving success.
Between his wife Katherine's diagnosis of glioblastoma and her quiet death less than three years later, Mee ("The Call of DIY"), his siblings and his mother bought a bedraggled zoo, complete with decaying buildings, a ragtag group of animals, an eclectic staff and a reputation that had been quickly going to the wolves. In this occasionally charming (to his children: Quiet. Daddy's trying to buy a zoo) but overly wordy book, Mee writes about caring for his dying wife and their two young children, dealing with Code Red emergencies (when a dangerous animal escapes its confines), hiring staff, learning about his new two- and four-footed charges and setting his sights on refurbishing his zoo into a sanctuary for breeding and raising endangered animals. Mee tends to meander with too-long explanations for one-sentence points, and the awe he feels about each individual animal is repetitive. Coupled with Britishisms that are never explained and a curious lack of varied wild animal stories, this book that was obviously meant to make animal lovers roar with pleasure will only make them whine with frustration. "(Sept.)" Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Following the death of his father, Mee took on the challenge of helping his 76-year-old mother find a new home. This relatively simple task resulted in life-altering, unexpected outcomes, not the least of which was taking on the responsibility of owning and renovating a dilapidated zoo in rural England. Mee has a strong interest in animal behavior and was trained as a science journalist, which influenced his decision to move his family to a run down 30-acre zoo complete with animals. Readers will delight in his anecdotes, most notably about escapees Sovereign the jaguar and Parker the wolf, who attracted a fair share of media attention and antizoo feeling from the public. While the Mee family dream was coming to fruition, Mee's wife, Katherine, suffered from the return of a brain tumor and died before the zoo was restored and reopened. The author's touching description of this tragedy stands in contrast to his otherwise conversational tone and the humorous events depicted in the book. The Dartmoor Zoological Park now attracts thousands of visitors annually. This engaging adventure will appeal to animal lovers and is recommended for public libraries.Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
When writer Mees father died, his mother needed to sell the house and move to a smaller placeso the entire family decided to buy a zoo. Mees sister had seen an advertisement for the sale of the Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a small zoo in Devonshire in the southwest of England. After a long series of negotiations, licensing snafus, and the inevitable family conflicts, the author, his mother, and his brother moved into the parks rundown house and started running a zoo. Though they owned the grounds and its 200 animals outright, they still had to pay20 staff members, feed the animals, and upgrade the grounds. During the first week, a jaguar escaped, and the author and his brother began to realize what theyd gotten themselves into. Through eradicating the plague of rats, clearing out years of rubbish to reveal usable buildings, and battling with banks for operating expenses, the author and his staff gradually pulled the zoo back from the brink of closure.The emotional appeal of the zoos rescue is wonderfully limned in Mees practical, good-humored prose.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)
Number Of Pages: 261
Published: 22nd November 2011
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 13.9 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.277