Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell
Most children at the tender age of six or so are generally full of the most impractical schemes for becoming policemen, firemen or engine drivers when they grow up...I knew exactly what I was going to do: I was going to have my own zoo. Menagerie Manor is the hugely entertaining account of how the well-known and much-loved conservationist and author, Gerald Durrell, fulfilled a lifelong ambition by founding his very own private zoo in Jersey. With the help of an enduring wife, a selfless staff and a reluctant bank manager, the zoo grows. One by one the reader is introduced to the village idiocy of Trumpy, the grey-winged trumpeter, who wakes the zoo every morning; the riotous antics of Claudius the tapir; the moving romance of N'Pongo, an African gorilla; and the antics of a whole menagerie of orangutans, lions, bears, porcupines and other creatures. Hilariously illustrated by Ralph Thompson, this book about the trials and wonders of living in the middle of a zoo is a classic that will continue to bring pleasure to those who grew up reading Durrell, and deserves a whole new readership.