My family and other animals

A book review

About the author: Gerald Durrell

Gerald Durrell is the founder of the Jersey Zoological Park. As a naturalist, he has spent his life showing people the alive treasures hidden behind the bushes, beneath the rocks or perched in the branches of the trees. Obviously, I refer to animals. We can compare Gerald Durrell with another famous Spanish naturalist: Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente.

Summarizing the book

Since his arrival to the greek island of Corfu in the mid thirties, the young Gerry didn´t stop searching for animals everywhere. Some of these creatures were bred at home by him. Thus, there were hilarious situations between Gerry´s family and all of these fauna .

A little review

In this autobiography the main character is, obviously, Gerald Durrell but his mother and his siblings, too. Also, his dog Roger appears in every chapter.

The houses where Gerald lived always were full of wildlife. His bedrooms looked like little zoos inside home. They were full of dogs, birds, snakes, insects, bats, and so on. Gerry´s elder brother, Larry, got on his nerves every time Gerry brought a new animal at home.

Like naturalists love doing, every thing that Gerald´s pets did is told in the story. All the behaviors, movements and sounds made by the animals are compared with things that humans do in a funny and amusing way.

The key message

This book is a perfect tribute to the author´s family and his childhood. Also, it is a claim for the defense of the nature and the protection of the endangered wildlife all around the world.


If you like nature, read it! I´m sure there are many people who feel identified with Gerry´s childhood. If you like thinking about your family and your past I guess you´ll enjoy this book. Also, this is an opportunity to learn not only lots of terms about wildlife but coloquial expressions, too.

Interesting vocabulary


PURRING: ronroneando

TO AND FRO: de un lado a otro

TO SCUTTLE: escabullirse

TO MUNCH: masticar

TO NIBBLE: mordisquear

TO GULP: tragar

TO BLINK: parpadear

TO GRAZE: pastar

YAWN: bostezo

SIGH: suspiro

WHEEZE: resoplido


SCALE: escama

FRECKLES: pecas, manchas

FORE LEGS/ HIND LEGS: extremidades anteriores/extremidades posteriores

GUM: encía

BEAK: pico

GULLET: gaznate, garganta

TUMMY: panza

FINS: aletas


Arthropods (insects, bugs, spiders...): lacewing flies, smallpoxes, daddy-longlegs, cicadas, crane-flies, moths, carpenter bees, rose-beetles, greenflies, humming bird hawk-moths, earwigs, bunch of grapes, figs, etc.

Reptiles: snakes, geckos, tortoises, etc.

Mammals: porpoises, mongrels, bloodhounds, fawns, leeks, brambles, etc.

Birds: owls, owlets, hoopoes, snipes, gulls, goldcrests, etc.

Plants: heather, myrtles, rosebuds, etc.

Audio track from Chapter Five "A treasure of spiders"


Gerald receives a gift from his friend by user624637085

Transcription of the audio track

From Chapter Five "A treasure of spiders"

Incredulously I stared at the parcel. Surely it couldn´t be for me? There must be some mistake, for a great scientist would hardly bother to send me parcels. I turned it over, and there, written on it in a neat, spidery writing, was my name. I tore off the paper as quickly as I could. Inside was a small box and a letter.

"My dear Gerry Durrell,

I wondered, after our conversation the other day, if it might not assist your investigations of the local natural history to have some form of magnifying instrument. I am therefore sending you this pocket microscope, in the hope that it will be of some use to you. It is, of course, not of very high magnification, but you will find it sufficient for field work.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Theo. Stephanides"