How to move a zoo by Kate Simpson and Owen Swan

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This incredible true story shows how the Taronga Zoo came to be where it is today. Originally at Moore Park, it was obviously running out of room, so a plan had to be devised to transfer all the animals across the harbour to the new site. In 1916 the bridge had not been built, so all sorts of coaches, cars and trucks were used to transfer the animals, using the ferries across the harbour as the means of getting to the new zoo. 

Months later, there was only one animal left, Jessie, the elephant. There was nothing big enough for her to be transported in, so the decision was made to walk her.    

Swan’s gentle form of illustration is just right for this story of Jessie. The soft edges, light colours, and the way of presenting each page will speak to the reader, taking them back to a time when Sydney Harbour was a very different place. The Opera House and bridge do not clutter the image of the harbour, just hills and ferries. Readers will enjoy seeing the old vehicles (see also the splendid endpapers) and clothes, as well as looking at the different ferries used more than a century ago.

Early in the book a map of the Sydney Harbour will engage young readers, looking at the path Jessie took to get to her new home.

At the height of World War One, this parade of vehicles driving an array of animals through the streets, followed months later with Jessie walking the same route, drew crowds of people, a respite from news of the war in Europe.

At the end this wonderful story are several paragraphs of information about the transfer as well as two photos taken at the time. More information can be found here. 

Themes: Zoos, Taronga Zoo, Elephants.

Fran Knight

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