Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor


Joan Procter, Animal Doctor took her childhood fascination with reptiles into a groundbreaking career. Despite the times she lived in, with little girls expected to indulge themselves with tea parties and ladylike pursuits, Joan Procter pursued her passion. It continued through constant ill-health, and WW1.

Joan Procter graduated from walking her baby crocodile to school, to designing London Zoo’s reptile house. This reader knew nothing about this trailblazing scientist until reading Joan Procter, Animal Doctor.

Ill-health, and societal expectations plagued her, yet Joan Procter’s impact on our appreciation of reptiles evolved because of her determined example and research. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor is a brilliant story of a fascinating scientist.

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Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala

(Andersen Press)

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor despite the odds. It seems that she had everything against her from being a woman, to suffering from ill-health. Thereafter, the society in which she was raised did not believe that someone of her class should research and become an authority on something so peculiar! However, she came from a family who believed in education and seemed to support her fascination. They enabled her home reptile house and then the crocodile she kept as a child!
This scientist was fascinated by reptiles. What’s more she broke down barriers to become a leading global authority on reptiles. It seems  she used her status to gain attention to her cause. Thereafter, trailing a komodo dragon about the streets and to lectures must have raised eyebrows!
Patricia Valdez builds from her own life and knowledge as a scientist to extend Joan Procter’s life story and achievements. Thereafter, we realise the determination of this scientist, from  early reptile keeping, to her correspondence and discoveries. What’s more, we see the respect for her that led to Joan Procter’s appointment as the first Curator of Reptiles at London Zoo. Furthermore, she designed areas within  the zoo, including the Reptile House.
Rather like Eugenie Clark, Shark Lady, Joan Procter’s legacy is in the work she left and in the strides she took. Bookwagon is delighted to recommend Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor to readers at home and school. This is a superb, breathtaking, beautifully illustrated biography.


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