On a tiny island near St. Croix, Dr. Nicole Angeli searches for critically endangered ground lizards.
A straightforward narrative follows the young, white herpetologist as she looks and listens for animals as part of her fieldwork. In her search she encounters a green walking-stick insect, a pearly-eyed thrasher, land crabs, and finally the tiny lizard, which she catches, weighs, measures, and puts back where she found it. These St. Croix ground lizards exist only on offshore islands because the mongooses farmers brought to control the rat population ate lizards and birds on the main island instead. The researcher and co-author—the titular “Lizard Lady”—is part of a scientific group working to save these reptiles through a conservation translocation project aiming to establish them on two additional islands. The simple text is printed in a large font over Jones’ digital paintings, which include images of white scientists working with black island children as well as curiously static scenes of Nicole at work in a lush tropical setting and the wildlife. As is the case for other books from this publisher, the title, also available in Spanish as La dama de las Siguanas, features helpful backmatter (here, further information about the lizards, their adaptations, the scientist, and invasive species), making it particularly welcome in educational settings.
A glimpse of science in the field for early readers. (map, learning activities) (Nonfiction. 5-8)