Island Zoo

by Gerald Durrell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I must say that I was very glad when Juanita got better, not only because I did not want to lose her, but also because it is very exhausting to sleep with a playful peccary in your bed.

I’d bet not many people could say that!

As always Gerald Durrell is an entertaining raconteur, even in a book aimed at older children. Durrell never talks down to his audience and his love for the animals he collected for the world famous Jersey Zoo is plain to see. I’m scared to check with Wikipedia how many of the species he mentions are now endangered (the peccaries look to be safe though.)

For me, what makes the book are the beautiful black and white photographs by Wolfgang Suschitsky. Some of the bird pictures – every feather stands out! I will mention some photos could be clearer & this might be due to the challenge of photographing some of these creatures – or that photography has come a long way since the early 60s.

I really fell for this little  guy (for some reason the name Slow Loris makes me giggle!)

Sadly, Wikipedia classifies the Slow Loris as vulnerable.

While Durrell was a gifted writer, he never had a deep love of writing. he did it to raise funds for his beloved animals. This could explain the ending, which is a little abrupt. I could feel the impatience to get back to his work.

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