Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor (Hardcover)

The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

By Patricia Valdez, Felicita Sala (Illustrator)

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399557255, 40pp.

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List

“I'm not sure if I love the illustrations or the text more, but together they're utterly engrossing. I love this book! Such a wonderful story and so well done. Inspiring!”
— Justus Joseph, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
View the List


For fans of Ada Twist: Scientist comes a fascinating picture book biography of a pioneering female scientist--who loved reptiles

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets.... While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere--she even brought a crocodile to school

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children's tea parties--with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.

With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter's inspiring story of passion and determination.

About the Author

Patricia Valdez is a scientist who loves writing for children. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and currently works at the National Institutes of Health. Originally from Texas, she now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This is her first picture book. Felicita Sala is a self taught illustrator who studied Philosophy at the University of Western Australia. She has worked on several animation projects, but her passion is making picture books. Felicita lives in Rome with her husband and their daughter. Visit her online at,, and