Writing – Patricia Valdez & Illustrations – Felicitia Sala
This picture book biography depicts the story of Joan Beauchamp Procter, a notable British zoologist and an internationally renowned herpetologist (someone who specializes in the study of reptiles and animals). She worked initially at the British Museum and later for the Zoological Society of London, becoming the first female Curator of Reptiles at London Zoo. This is a delightfully illustrated tale of how young Joan’s love for reptiles eventually became the profession that gave her fame and recognition the world over, even though she passed away at the young age of 34!
What works – The book balances beautifully the life of Joan who was a passionate adventurer, working under the shadow of a chronic illness all her adult life. Felicitia Sala’s whimsical artwork and Patricia Valdez’s inspiring story telling bring about this contrast perfectly. The cover itself shows Joan as a stylish woman of the 1920’s with a string of pearls around her neck and a variety of small lizards on her shoulders and wrists! A variety of techniques in backgrounds, word placements, and beautifully illustrated reptiles on each page are great elements likely to keep young readers engaged. This is a great way to introduce your child to the life story of a virtually unknown woman hero and a unique role model who followed her dreams all through her short life.
The book however needs to be read engagingly, especially to children who prefer fiction tales or stories over real life narratives.
Your child is going to have a blast reading about the little girl who took a crocodile to school and carried her favourite lizard with her. This book is a must have for your home library.
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