Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
For fans of Ada Twist: Scientist comes a fascinating picture book biography of a pioneering female scientist--who loved reptiles!Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets.... While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere--she even brought a crocodile to school!When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children's tea parties--with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter's inspiring story of passion and determination.

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor Details

TitleJoan Procter, Dragon Doctor
Author
ReleaseMar 13th, 2018
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780399557262
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Biography, Nonfiction, Animals, Science

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor Review

  • Sarah Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR (written by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala, published by Alfred A. Knopf). When I saw the cover and title for this book, I thought I would like it, but it was when I saw the endpapers that I KNEW I would love it. With “dragon” in the title, I hadn’t initially realized that this was a biography of a “trailblazing woman of science, who was an international sensation in her time and whose legacy paved the way for female zoologist around the world”. However JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR (written by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala, published by Alfred A. Knopf). When I saw the cover and title for this book, I thought I would like it, but it was when I saw the endpapers that I KNEW I would love it. With “dragon” in the title, I hadn’t initially realized that this was a biography of a “trailblazing woman of science, who was an international sensation in her time and whose legacy paved the way for female zoologist around the world”. However, after being hooked by the title and the engaging cover art (as well as the beautiful endpapers) I was quickly swept away by this fascinating story. The gorgeous illustrations give a wonderful sense of the era, and are full of lovely textures - from the scales of the reptiles to the vegetation of the exhibits, not to mention the softly cross-hatched backgrounds. I loved discovering Joan’s scientific pursuits throughout the story, and I wish I could have learned more about her work as an artist, hinted at here:“As a scientist, she surveyed the museum’s vast collections and published research papers on pit vipers and pancake tortoises. As an artist, she created exquisite models and drawings for the reptile exhibits. It sounds like she was a dedicated scientist who carefully cared for these fascinating, often reviled creatures; constantly working to help people see the beauty of the animals she loved. As a little girl who dreamed of being a zoologist I would have loved this book, and I am sure that many children, caregivers, librarians, teachers will love it too!
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  • Melissa Stoller
    January 1, 1970
    This inspiring story about a woman scientist hits just the right notes. From the first page, where the author writes, "while other girls read stories about dragons and princesses, Joan read books about lizards and crocodiles," the reader wants to find out what happens next. And the book comes full circle with the type of dragon Joan eventually loves. The illustrations perfectly complement the story. This book is a winner and will be a wonderful addition to a home or school library.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Although I'm no fan of zoos--yes, I know they serve a purpose, but I always feel sad at the thought of various species in captivity and I know that some zoos have not been the best places for many animals--I was excited to read this brief picture book biography about a woman who defied the gender norms of her time. not only did Joan Procter prefer lizards and snakes to dolls, but she brokered her hobby and keen interest in reptiles into a job at the Natural History Museum where she was befriende Although I'm no fan of zoos--yes, I know they serve a purpose, but I always feel sad at the thought of various species in captivity and I know that some zoos have not been the best places for many animals--I was excited to read this brief picture book biography about a woman who defied the gender norms of her time. not only did Joan Procter prefer lizards and snakes to dolls, but she brokered her hobby and keen interest in reptiles into a job at the Natural History Museum where she was befriended by the curator. She designed and updated a species-friendly Reptile House of the London Zoo where two of the special animals on display were Komodo dragons. One dragon, Sumbawa, allowed Joan to take care of a sore in his mouth, and the two of them became especially close. The book includes anecdotes about the reactions of onlookers to Sumbawa and how annoyed Joan felt when reporters were interested in asking her silly questions about herself instead of questions about the animals. Back matter includes photographs of the real Joan Procter and information about her life and the Komodo dragons. Sadly, health issues caused her to die at 34. There is also a bibliography and some paintings of the creatures she studied and loved. What a fascinating woman and what amazing animals! This title would fit nicely in a collection devoted to women or groundbreaking women or one focusing on zoos or rare and fascinating animals.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since she was a little girl, Joan Procter loved lizards and other reptiles and amphibians. She dismissed dolls in favor of her animals, even having a baby alligator as a pet and taking it to school with her. But Joan was born in the late 1800s, so girls were not expected to study science, still she sought out the curator of reptiles and fish at the Natural History Museum rather than going to dances. With England at war, Joan was asked to work at the museum and eventually took over as curato Ever since she was a little girl, Joan Procter loved lizards and other reptiles and amphibians. She dismissed dolls in favor of her animals, even having a baby alligator as a pet and taking it to school with her. But Joan was born in the late 1800s, so girls were not expected to study science, still she sought out the curator of reptiles and fish at the Natural History Museum rather than going to dances. With England at war, Joan was asked to work at the museum and eventually took over as curator. She designed the Reptile House at the London Zoo, using her artistic and scientific skills and created a habitat for their new Komodo dragons. Joan grew especially fond of Sumbawa, one of the Komodo dragons, who was gentle enough to walk outside with her and attend tea parties with children.This picture book biography takes just the right tone about Joan’s life, filled with delight at her bringing an alligator to school and also relishing in her series of high-profile successes. The final pages of the book offer more details about Joan’s life and her early death at age 34. It also has more information about Komodo dragons and a robust bibliography. The illustrations has just the right mix of playfulness and science, showing the reptiles up close and also Joan’s own connection with them.A brilliant look at an amazing woman who broke into science thanks to her skill and passion. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous and really really interesting.
  • Cathy Mealey
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely language and engaging illustrations energize this amazing picture book biography about a trailblazing scientist from debut author Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala.Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter followed her childhood passion for slithery, scaly, unusual animals to an internationally renowned career at London’s Zoo and the Natural History Museum. Valdez introduces us to young, curious Joan, holding tea parties with reptiles while her peers preferred dol Lovely language and engaging illustrations energize this amazing picture book biography about a trailblazing scientist from debut author Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala.Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter followed her childhood passion for slithery, scaly, unusual animals to an internationally renowned career at London’s Zoo and the Natural History Museum. Valdez introduces us to young, curious Joan, holding tea parties with reptiles while her peers preferred dolls. As Joan grew, her interest did not wane, so at 16 years old she received a pet crocodile as a birthday gift!In due time, Joan chatted up the director of Natural History museum about his work with reptiles. She began working there, surveying the museum’s vast collections, publishing research papers, and creating detailed, realistic models and drawings for the reptile exhibits. Given her enthusiasm, experience and extensive knowledge, Joan eventually became the Curator, an unusual role for a female scientist at the time.When invited to re-design the London Zoo Reptile House, Joan fell in love with a new and exotic creature, the Komodo dragon. This so-called fierce, man-eating lizard was “rumored to be…Thirty feet long! Faster than a motorcar! Stronger than an ox!” Joan, undeterred, could not wait to study the dragons first-hand. Her deep connection with one Komodo called Sumbawa led to some of the most stunning and innovative work of her career. Valdez keeps the paces of this fascinating story lively by introducing wonderful vocabulary woven carefully and completely within a child-friendly framework and perspective. She highlights her heroine’s passion and determination in an understated yet direct manner, giving Joan relevance and timeliness that transcend her timeperiod. JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR is an essential addition for collections on women in STEM fields, with the broad appeal of reptiles and science for many young readers boosts this title to the top.Salas illustrates dramatically, choosing with vibrant, rich colors for the settings, the tropical plants, and the starring-role reptiles. Joan is elegant yet serious, portrayed close to and interacting with her creatures, focused on them with great intensity, delight and passion. The reptiles themselves are marvelously textured and stylized, creeping, curving and twisting with dignified realism. Throughout the story, Salas provides tantalizing glimpses of early 20th century London through architecture and fashions of the era.The author includes additional biographical information on Procter as well as on Komodo Dragons. A bibliography with primary and secondary sources is a helpful resource for young readers who wish to explore more. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about this impressive scientist, her beloved ‘dragons’ and her trailblazing career in a book that is as beautiful and brilliant as it is important.
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  • Cathy Mealey
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely language and engaging illustrations energize this amazing picture book biography about a trailblazing scientist from debut author Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala.Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter followed her childhood passion for slithery, scaly, unusual animals to an internationally renowned career at London’s Zoo and the Natural History Museum. Valdez introduces us to young, curious Joan, holding tea parties with reptiles while her peers preferred dol Lovely language and engaging illustrations energize this amazing picture book biography about a trailblazing scientist from debut author Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala.Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter followed her childhood passion for slithery, scaly, unusual animals to an internationally renowned career at London’s Zoo and the Natural History Museum. Valdez introduces us to young, curious Joan, holding tea parties with reptiles while her peers preferred dolls. As Joan grew, her interest did not wane, so at 16 years old she received a pet crocodile as a birthday gift!In due time, Joan chatted up the director of Natural History museum about his work with reptiles. She began working there, surveying the museum’s vast collections, publishing research papers, and creating detailed, realistic models and drawings for the reptile exhibits. Given her enthusiasm, experience and extensive knowledge, Joan eventually became the Curator, an unusual role for a female scientist at the time.When invited to re-design the London Zoo Reptile House, Joan fell in love with a new and exotic creature, the Komodo dragon. This so-called fierce, man-eating lizard was “rumored to be…Thirty feet long! Faster than a motorcar! Stronger than an ox!” Joan, undeterred, could not wait to study the dragons first-hand. Her deep connection with one Komodo called Sumbawa led to some of the most stunning and innovative work of her career. Valdez keeps the paces of this fascinating story lively by introducing wonderful vocabulary woven carefully and completely within a child-friendly framework and perspective. She highlights her heroine’s passion and determination in an understated yet direct manner, giving Joan relevance and timeliness that transcend her timeperiod. JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR is an essential addition for collections on women in STEM fields, with the broad appeal of reptiles and science for many young readers boosts this title to the top.Salas illustrates dramatically, choosing with vibrant, rich colors for the settings, the tropical plants, and the starring-role reptiles. Joan is elegant yet serious, portrayed close to and interacting with her creatures, focused on them with great intensity, delight and passion. The reptiles themselves are marvelously textured and stylized, creeping, curving and twisting with dignified realism. Throughout the story, Salas provides tantalizing glimpses of early 20th century London through architecture and fashions of the era.The author includes additional biographical information on Procter as well as on Komodo Dragons. A bibliography with primary and secondary sources is a helpful resource for young readers who wish to explore more. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about this impressive scientist, her beloved ‘dragons’ and her trailblazing career in a book that is as beautiful and brilliant as it is important.
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  • Jeanette Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    An informative and lively biography of early 20th century herpetologist Joan Proctor, this book is perfect for your budding biologist or your child with dreams of vet school. Sala’s illustrations are both contemporary in feel and evocative of the early 20th century modernist paintings of jungle florals by painters like Rousseau. The colors are rich and the reptiles twist and turn across the page. Proctor’s chronic illness is touched on in the text, and one illustration shows her wheeling herself An informative and lively biography of early 20th century herpetologist Joan Proctor, this book is perfect for your budding biologist or your child with dreams of vet school. Sala’s illustrations are both contemporary in feel and evocative of the early 20th century modernist paintings of jungle florals by painters like Rousseau. The colors are rich and the reptiles twist and turn across the page. Proctor’s chronic illness is touched on in the text, and one illustration shows her wheeling herself through the zoo with her Komodo dragon. That makes this book one of those rare and wonderful stories in which kids with disabilities get to see someone dealing with similar things to what they deal with, and it being presented as only one small part of her identity as a successful adult. An author’s note at the end of the book goes into more detail about her life and her illness, but again, this isn’t a book about Proctor’s disability, it’s a book about her cutting-edge achievements in natural history, zoo design, and veterinary medicine. A wonderful introduction to an historical figure that I hadn’t known before this book. 9this review was based on an ARC provided by the publisher)
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  • Beth Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    With a touch of humor, this biography follows the path of a girl who was different, one who was fascinated by reptiles. Like these creatures, she was unique, quiet, and interesting. When the Komodo dragon was discovered, it inspired curiosity and fear. Joan, not only led the way in studying this creature, but bravely administered to a sick giant lizard, attracting the attention of the public.Joan’s love of reptiles clearly comes through in the text and illustrations. This is a great story for a With a touch of humor, this biography follows the path of a girl who was different, one who was fascinated by reptiles. Like these creatures, she was unique, quiet, and interesting. When the Komodo dragon was discovered, it inspired curiosity and fear. Joan, not only led the way in studying this creature, but bravely administered to a sick giant lizard, attracting the attention of the public.Joan’s love of reptiles clearly comes through in the text and illustrations. This is a great story for a number of reasons. So many children are interested in reptiles, and the Komodo dragon – WOW! A crocodile at school? That will get their attention! For those who feel a bit squeamish about reptiles, Joan Procter’s affinity for them shows that our fears are often unfounded or dispelled by knowledge. There’s also an art/science connection that invites exploration.The cover absolutely grabbed me and has got to be one of my all-time favorites. The illustrations throughout are fun and a great marriage with the engaging text.
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  • Jessie Oliveros
    January 1, 1970
    I've been reading many picture book biographies lately, and this one definitely stands out. Joan Proctor loved reptiles as a child--studying them, caring for them, watching them, even having tea parties with them! As an adult, she became the first female curator at the Reptile House of the London Zoo. She did a lot of work with Komodo dragons. They were highly misunderstood at the time, and she introduced them to the world as the gentle creatures they are. In her short life, Joan became world re I've been reading many picture book biographies lately, and this one definitely stands out. Joan Proctor loved reptiles as a child--studying them, caring for them, watching them, even having tea parties with them! As an adult, she became the first female curator at the Reptile House of the London Zoo. She did a lot of work with Komodo dragons. They were highly misunderstood at the time, and she introduced them to the world as the gentle creatures they are. In her short life, Joan became world renowned for her work. The pictures are wonderful--very colorful, unique, and fun. And there are so many elements that would appeal to children, all written in such an engaging way: The tea parties with lizards (that deserves two mentions)! The "fearsome" Komodo dragons. Her pet crocodile when she was just 16. And the surgeries she performed on the lizards. Joan Proctor was a fascinating woman, and I'm excited for young readers to get to know her better!
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    What a remarkable woman! I had never heard of her until this book came along. The story about her love of reptiles was so wonderful. I had always heard how dangerous Komodo dragons were and was quite alarmed that she allowed one of hers to roam freely at events! I know they have every venomous mouths. I can't imagine anyone these days allowing the m to just walk around in crowds! Scary! But then, back in those days, parents allowed their children to ride alligators (photos are out there!) and I What a remarkable woman! I had never heard of her until this book came along. The story about her love of reptiles was so wonderful. I had always heard how dangerous Komodo dragons were and was quite alarmed that she allowed one of hers to roam freely at events! I know they have every venomous mouths. I can't imagine anyone these days allowing the m to just walk around in crowds! Scary! But then, back in those days, parents allowed their children to ride alligators (photos are out there!) and I am sure, do other crazy stuff that would horrify us today! Lol! Great book, very enjoyable read for grade schoolers. Also has a nice bio at the end of her and Komodo dragons. Illustrations were fun to look at and added to the story nicely.
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  • Viviane Elbee
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fascinating non-fiction picture book biography about Joan Procter, a lady who was born in 1897 in London England, and who grew up to become the head curator of the Natural History Museum's reptile & fish department and the curator of reptiles, as well as the designer of the Reptile House, at the London Zoo.It's beautifully written and the illustrations by Felicita Sala fit this story well.The kids loved it and voted to give it 5 stars.Great for: kids who love reptiles, komodo drago This is a fascinating non-fiction picture book biography about Joan Procter, a lady who was born in 1897 in London England, and who grew up to become the head curator of the Natural History Museum's reptile & fish department and the curator of reptiles, as well as the designer of the Reptile House, at the London Zoo.It's beautifully written and the illustrations by Felicita Sala fit this story well.The kids loved it and voted to give it 5 stars.Great for: kids who love reptiles, komodo dragons, crocodiles, science fans, non-fiction biography fans. It would also work well in elementary school classrooms and homeschooling.I received an ARC for review, but will be putting this book on my "wish to purchase" list.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    The author weaves a great true story about a fascinating, trailblazing young woman who loved reptiles. In the 1920s, she became a world-renowned expert who ran the London Zoo's reptile house and, apparently without a lot of formal training, could perform delicate surgeries on dangerous reptiles. The story of her relationships with the Komodo dragons, and how she helped to educate people about them, will be particularly compelling to young readers. And the illustrations are eye-popping and beauti The author weaves a great true story about a fascinating, trailblazing young woman who loved reptiles. In the 1920s, she became a world-renowned expert who ran the London Zoo's reptile house and, apparently without a lot of formal training, could perform delicate surgeries on dangerous reptiles. The story of her relationships with the Komodo dragons, and how she helped to educate people about them, will be particularly compelling to young readers. And the illustrations are eye-popping and beautiful. There's also good back matter including a fuller biography, which notes Proctor's health issues and her early death, and a bibliography. And it's a great title, too. I love this book! (I reviewed an advance copy.)
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  • Jen Betton
    January 1, 1970
    Joan Procter liked to invite slithery and scaly guests to her tea parties – she even had a pet baby crocodile! When she gets older, Joan works at the natural history museum and takes care of the reptiles at the London Zoo – including real, live, Komodo dragons! Joan's tea parties come full circle at the end of the book, where a dragon is the guest of honor! A fun biography highlighting the life of a pioneering female zoologist! I especially love the illustrations – such beautiful textures and co Joan Procter liked to invite slithery and scaly guests to her tea parties – she even had a pet baby crocodile! When she gets older, Joan works at the natural history museum and takes care of the reptiles at the London Zoo – including real, live, Komodo dragons! Joan's tea parties come full circle at the end of the book, where a dragon is the guest of honor! A fun biography highlighting the life of a pioneering female zoologist! I especially love the illustrations – such beautiful textures and color palettes.
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  • Andi Diehn
    January 1, 1970
    The world needs more picture books about female scientists and JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR is an excellent addition! This book follows Joan from her first experiences with reptiles as a young girl to her work at the Natural History Museum and on to her role as curator of reptiles at the London Zoo. Most touching is her friendship with Sumbawa, a Komodo dragon she helped nurse to health. Kids will love learning about this impressive character as they imagine what it might be like to have tea with The world needs more picture books about female scientists and JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR is an excellent addition! This book follows Joan from her first experiences with reptiles as a young girl to her work at the Natural History Museum and on to her role as curator of reptiles at the London Zoo. Most touching is her friendship with Sumbawa, a Komodo dragon she helped nurse to health. Kids will love learning about this impressive character as they imagine what it might be like to have tea with a crocodile... Beautifully illustrated by Felicita Sala.
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  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    I have found a new genre of books that I love kid informational books especially childrens' biographies. I had never heard of Joan Procter before reading Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this bio of this phenomenal woman and amazing person. She truly lived life. I am so thrilled that Patricia Valdez honored her memory by writing this book. Thank you. Truly one of my favorites!
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    What a woman! I had never heard of Joan Procter before reading this book. Biographies for kids introduce me to so many fascinating people, and I always feel a kinship with those who study animals. I love the stylized illustrations in this one, but most of all I'm intrigued by Joan and I plan on learning more about her. This is a great choice for young animal lovers and it includes a mini biography with photographs of Joan at the end, as well as a bibliography.
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  • Michelle Cusolito
    January 1, 1970
    From the moment I saw the cover of this book I could not wait to read it. A female scientist? Awesome. Who works with reptiles? I love it! I did not know Joan Proctor's story before reading this book, so reading it was a real treat for this science nerd. But don't let my nerd status turn you off; kids will love reading about a woman who broke down barriers and worked with Komodo Dragons back in the days "of long skirts and afternoon teas."Note: I read this as an ARC/ F & G
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  • Kate Narita
    January 1, 1970
    This is must-have biography for the elementary classroom. Patricia Valdez does a fantastic job decsribing Joan Procter's contribution to science. Her story will inspire readers to pursue their dreams, even if they're quite different from their peers' goals. This would pair well with Heather Lang's Swimming with Sharks, Jeannine Atkins' Finding Wonders and Jacqueline Kelly's The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
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  • Cathy Breisacher
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fascinating story about Joan Procter who spent her life studying animals such as lizards, snakes, and turtles. She was especially drawn to the Komodo Dragon and educated the public so others could appreciate this creature, too. Patricia Valdez did an exceptional job telling the story of this amazing woman. This is an interesting read that I would highly recommend.
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  • Shanda McCloskey
    January 1, 1970
    Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor is my favorite non-fiction kids book of all time! An extremely well written and beautifully illustrated account of a girl that wasn’t like the rest. (Also an example of a girl that struggled with health issues and still lived to the fullest). I’ll be gifting this book to my child’s teacher soon!
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  • Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting story of an early woman scientist that isn't commonly known about. I especially liked the sections about how growing up, Joan Procter, with her lifelong love of reptiles, wasn't the typical girl of the early 1900s.
  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    Well written biography of Joan Procter for middle readers. The author explores her love of lizards from a young age and takes the reader through her death at 34 from chronic health problems. Early female scientist.
  • Mireille Messier
    January 1, 1970
    An inspiring picture book biography that is also a fantastic read-aloud with beautiful illustrations.
  • Taylor Kundel-Gower
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome book! I'm still scared of Komodo dragons, though...
  • Tara Luebbe
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great book about a person I knew nothing about before reading. Great writing and wonderful illustrations.
  • Jared White
    January 1, 1970
    I cute little biography about an amazing woman who I wasn't aware of. A great story with wonderful pictures to accompany. Perfect for lovers of lizards and other scaly folk. :)
  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    I just love the art for this biography about a very unique and not very well-known woman. I always appreciate anything that encourages understanding and love of reptiles.
  • Cameron Mcconnell
    January 1, 1970
    Entertaining and brilliantly illustrated.
  • Kirsten Murphy
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating picture book biography.
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