Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Jane is a girl who loves to be outside watching the animals. She takes her toy chimpanzee Jubilee with her on all of her adventures. They watch the squirrels, birds and spiders. They figure out where eggs come from. They go together up into her favorite tree to dream about being Tarzan in Africa. Jane dreamed about a life where she could study animals, learn about them, and watch them up close. And that’s exactly what she grew up to do as Jane Goodall, chimpanzee expert and animal activist.
McDonnell writes with a restraint that is beautiful. He has pared down Goodall’s childhood into a few seminal moments that speak to the adult she became. Delightfully readable, the book has only a few lines of text per page, making it very accessible for young readers. Yet it works as a biography because those few lines carry a weight with them.
The art in the book, also by McDonnell, combines old-fashioned stamps of chickens, squirrels, clocks and more with paintings that have a whimsical warmth about them. This gives the book a feeling that it is about the past without being specific. The color palette works especially well here with its yellows, greens, blues and browns.
The final pages of the book have information on Goodall’s life as well as a message from Jane herself to the readers. It’s an ideal way to end a biographical picture book written for an age that is too young for bibliographies.
A playful, winning biographical picture book that celebrates the childhood of the incredible Jane Goodall. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
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