cover image Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Patricia Valdez, illus. by Felicita Sala. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55725-5

Valdez paints a portrait of a unique woman whose love for reptiles developed into a gratifying career. As a child, Joan Procter enjoyed the company of pet lizards, snakes, turtles, and even a crocodile. These interests led her to work as a curator at London’s Natural History Museum—a position made possible because many male scientists were serving in WWI. Her expertise resulted in an invitation to redesign the Reptile House at the London Zoo, and her particular fondness for the komodo dragons drew media attention. Sala’s elegantly detailed art hints at the affinity between Procter and the reptiles, whose beadlike skin echoes the pearls in Procter’s necklace, as its emerald hue matches her eyes. Back matter elaborates on Procter’s unconventional passion and includes a photograph of her with her pet crocodile. Ages 4–8. Author’s and illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Mar.)