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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 1998
This book chronicles Gerald Durrell's collecting trip to Bafut in Africa. Masterfully, he paints a vivid and beautiful picture of his surroundings and brings to life some of the most memorable characters I have read. The convival Africans to the Fon of Bafut, Durrell manages to use these characters to capture our hearts. What is truly amazing is that these characters actually have existed! Durrell hears a song in the croaking of Hairy Frogs, he sees a dance in the movement monkeys and a supercilious expression on the face of Chomley the chimpanzee. The descriptions in this book as painstaking as they are amusing. No one brings the Cameroons alive the way Durrell does. However, it is not the animals that are the main stars of the book, but the fon of Bafut himself. With great vigour, the fon dances the Durrell version of the conga, catches the fabled Que-Fong- Goo and of course, never fails to imbibe in a liberal amount of spirits. Read this book not only to get fine description and a good laugh but discover the African culture as you never have before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2001
Although first time readers of Gerald Durrell are usually introduced to his writing through 'My Family and Other Animals,' this book is much more indicative of his overall style. It hooked me as a Durrell fan when I was a young teenager. His characters, both human and animal, are always larger than life, hugely entertaining and have the most incredible adventures. When you've finished this one, get started on 'A Zoo in my Luggage.' Durrell never disappoints.
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on 8 July 2013
I've always had very fond memories of Gerald Durrell's writing - it was his books that later inspired me to go out and do some travelling of my own.
The book is as good as I remember it, with wonderfully evocative writing painting the skyline above the Bafut mountains and their colourful inhabitants. A liking of animals is recommended (as for all Durrell's books) but as before the animals are just one member of the four piece band of beautiful landscapes, character sketches and 'I can laugh about it now' situations.

The slight aftertaste comes from the cultural mismatch between Durrell and his 'beagles' - the hunters he has working for them. Nicknaming an African for a loyal hound would be a bit 'off' in the modern world, let alone times where he is trying to convince them "he has good juju for poison". It's not racism fueled by a sense of superiority, and the written forms of pidgin add just as much to the atmosphere as the landscape, but the book was written in the 1950's and shows it. If you're reading it as a bedtime story, you might need to make sure this isn't echoed in the playground.

With that tiny caveat in mind, I cannot recommend this story enough. The edition I purchased has lovely pen illustrations, but the prose is clear enough they're merely the icing on the cake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Animals and people are beautifully described inthis book. Most live in Bafut a village in the British Cameroons. This is an account of an animal collecting expedition, together with the accounts of the animals and people the author shares the joys of collecting making the reader feel she has been there herself.
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on 22 January 2014
Gerald Durrell must have inspired countless children, as he did with me, to work with, and write about wildlife. The subject matter is never boring in his hands, because he is such an entertaining writer. Seamlessly blending zoological information with humour, and a child like enthusiasm. In this his third book, he is once again, back in Africa,collecting animals for zoos in the Cameroons, with larger than life eccentric humans and fascinating exotic animals.Bill Naylor author of Misadventures of a Zoo Keeper
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on 26 June 2010
The Bafut Beagles I urge everyone to read Gerald Durrell's books. I was lucky enough to read this as part of the school curriculum and it took me to a world I'd never heard of, that of capturing animals for zoos. Gerald Durrell was a wonderful ambassador for animals and a very funny and articulate writer.
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on 16 July 2014
Very excellent book. Read it years ago and am pleased to renew aquaintance with it . Thank you.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2015
Not read it yet because pages are so brown not an inviting read.
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