Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles (Patricia Valdez)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles, written by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala, the story of the notable herpetologist and researcher.

From childhood, Joan loved nothing more than spending time with her reptiles. Snakes, turtles, lizards, and the baby crocodile she was given for her birthday; Joan loved the quiet, intelligent animals all. She would often spend her days in discussion with the curator of reptiles at the London Natural History Museum, who took Joan under his wing as a protege. When war came to England, Joan was offered a vacant position at the museum as the curator’s assistant; by the time the war had ended, she had been promoted to Reptile Curator. When the London Zoo decided to rebuild its reptile house, they consulted Joan, who designed a paradise for her scaly friends, including two Komodo Dragons that she formed a special bond with. Joan’s love of reptiles encouraged others to do the same, including passing on that love to the next generation of young zoologists.

Very interesting! I had never heard of Joan, but was immediately taken by her story. Obviously, a young girl having a passion for herpetology was considered highly unusual in early 20th century England, and while this is mentioned a few times, the story focuses less on her gender and more on her tireless work (I was surprised to learn in the appendix that she died so young, considering her wealth of contributions to the field). The art is really lovely, putting special focus on the reptiles, inviting the reader to see them through Joan’s eyes. The length is very manageable for a biography, and JJ loved all the animals. A wonderful story about a remarkable woman, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

What Will Hatch? (Jennifer Ward)

Hello everyone! Today, our book was What Will Hatch?, written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. This peek-through book takes a look at all the different creatures that lay and hatch from eggs, called oviparous animals. Each page features an egg and a few short rhyming words to describe the creature inside, with the animal’s reveal on the next page (there is also a small peek-through cutout in the shape of each egg leading to the next page). At the end, there is a nonfiction section that lists the animals and their gestation times inside an egg, which was a nice touch. 

This is a nice and straightforward book about egg-laying creatures. The minimal text makes it good for very young readers, and also makes it a great length for baby bookworms like JJ. The folk-art is very cute, simple and colorful for little nature-lovers. Overall, a perfectly nice book. Baby Bookworm approved!