We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
I am excited to share the life of a fierce human being who has devoted her entire life’s work to caring for reptiles. That takes an indomitable warrior spirit!
Written by Patricia Valdez Illustrated by Felicita Sala
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (2018).
ISBN: 0399557261 (ISBN13: 9780399557262)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I didn’t even know about Joan Procter until I read this book. She was a fascinating woman who, as a young girl, loved being in the company of lizards, snakes, and turtles – rather than play with dolls.
While other young girls would ask for cute poodles or a tame goldfish in a glass bowl aquarium, Joan had a pet crocodile instead! She saw something in these reptiles that other people evidently are unable to appreciate. The War changed everything for Joan Procter. While the men are off doing the fighting, women had to take on work that they ordinarily would not have been considered for.
Joan, who loved spending time at the Natural History Museum, was hired as the assistant to the curator who knew instantly that there was something special about Joan, notwithstanding her lack of formal training in the field. Joan took over the progressive-minded curator when he retired.
This turned out to be one of the best decisions that the curator of the Natural History Museum has ever done. This wisp of a woman who loved spending time with lizards as a child – can now recreate their natural environment for them through her painstaking work, attention to detail, and sensitivity towards their plight. The work that she has done in documenting Komodo dragons is now well known and established throughout her field in herpetology.
Teachers would be happy to note that there is also an extensive Author’s Note at the end detailing Joan’s scientific accomplishments and her many publications in her discipline. There is also a commendable Bibliography that students and teachers can refer to for more information.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – United States of America (Patricia Valdez) and Italy (Felicita Sala)