BOOK REVIEWS

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-14 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0399557253
LANGUAGE:English

"What a remarkable woman! Largely self-educated, she contributed so significantly to the field of herpetology (study of amphibians and reptiles). Even more amazing is that she accomplished all that she did by age 34, when she died of a chronic intestinal illness. I loved reading about her passionate interest and work and was interested to read that WWI may have factored into her being hired as an assistant at the Natural History Museum (I wonder...). She was a scientist, an artist, even a surgeon! I was a little less taken with the illustrations, wishing for more realistic or accurate portrayals of the reptiles (perhaps more like the drawings on the end papers). " said.

"The book emphasizes Procter's long-term interest in reptiles, her close relationship with a number of reptiles, her interest in replicating their natural environments, and her work with Komodo dragons.

The reptiles especially are beautifully illustrated.

The book mentions that she was sick a lot as a child (her chronic illness is discussed more in the endnotes), and then she's shown in a wheelchair in the penultimate illustration.

A little "not like other girls" at the beginning, but the book never implied that she wasn't interested in or was better than traditionally feminine things, there were just always reptiles involved.

Detailed, text-heavy endnotes. (A couple of photos, but no timelines or similar.)
" said.

"I read this to my mother who is 81 and she really enjoyed it. I also read this to a fifth grader that I tutor, and he loved it. We started a very small notebook with ideas for stories and book reports in the front and new vocabulary in the back. He was excited to add this book to the front of his little 3" notebook. He is looking forward to the next time the teacher asks him to write something, and he can use his little idea book. We will add story ideas and vocabulary each week.

This book will resonate with girls as well as boys. It is amazing that Joan was such a trail blazer way back then. She died in 1931, so her work was a long time ago.

Great book! All of you librarians should order it for elementary schools.
" said.

"There is so much to love in JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR. First off, that title! Secondly, the illustrations are as charming as can be and really transport the reader to Joan's world. Lastly, and most important, is how much I adored learning about Joan and what she was passionate about...reptiles! The text wasn't overly simplistic, but at the same time, read as nicely as a fictional narrative without being bogged down by facts. In the back matter, I was surprised to learn about Joan's battle with chronic illness and in a way, I wished the story would've touched on that. But at the same time, I understand that Valdez wanted to honor her passion and accomplishments without dipping too much into the peripheral personal details." said.

"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.
" said.

"Viewing the cover with Joan Proctor Dragon Doctor balancing a baby crocodile on her head, and a snake wrapping around her neck, it is true, this biography won't remain on the shelf long. Accompanied by exquisite colorful illustrations of Joan with her pet lizards as a very young girl, her biography states that her passion for snakes, and lizards, developed early. By the time she was 16-years-old she had her own pet crocodile, that she even brought to school. As an adult she became the first woman curator of the Reptile House at the London Zoo, and even studied, housed, and presented her findings about two newly discovered Komodo Dragons, zoo residents of her zoo, at the Scientific Meeting of the Zoological Society of London in 1928. Her fascinating story ends with a mini biography of her life in the back of the book, and a comprehensive bibliography. Any student interested in reptiles will devour this handsome picture biography. A must buy for all elementary libraries." said.

"4.5 stars -- This book is an absolute delight. Young readers are introduced to Joan Procter, a woman with a passion for science and reptiles. It's great and encouraging to see these biographies of pioneering women, and inspiring to young girls who may not have traditionally "girly" interests.

It's true, this story takes place in the early 1900s and standards of animal care weren't always what they are today. As a child, Joan had a crocodile as a pet, and later in life, she didn't always seem to exercise the best of caution with her favorite Komodo dragon, taking the large carnivorous lizard out in public on a leash. Nowadays, with private individuals buying exotic wildlife as pets from auctions and the Internet, it's important to communicate the problems involved with all of this for the safety and welfare of both people and the animals themselves. This book opens up the possibility for further discussion of this topic, however.
" said.

"This is a superlative picture book biography of an interesting woman who became a herpetologist in the 1920's, when women were thought incapable of doing such a job. What I especially like is the believable description of Procter as a young girl - how she loved reptiles and followed her dream of studying them. With sly humor, Valdez gives the reader the vicarious experience of the amazed visitors and curators of the Natural History Museum as they watch an utterly confident Procter handle the monitors, pythons, Komodo dragons, and other frightening reptiles. The beguiling illustrations have a retro feel. They set Procter's life firmly in the early 20th century, show great details of the reptiles, and are entertaining to boot. Back matter includes additional biographical information, more about Komodo dragons, a bibliography, and reproductions of some of Procter's original painting of her creatures." said.

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