Monday, May 6, 2013


Title:  Me…Jane
Author: Patrick McDonnell
Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Caldocott Honor Winner
Level: Primary
Number of Pages: 38
Pub. Date: 2011

Summary:  This book tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. It talks about how she observes the natural world around her with wonder, studying everything she can and even crawling in a chicken coop to see where eggs come from. She dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true. The story ends with a picture of Jane Goodall as an adult  reaching out to a monkey.

Critique: The illustrations in this book are very unique. The illustrator uses faded paper color, slightly darker along the edge of each page, and a distressed looking font. There are pictures in
watercolor that tell more than the words, a type of subtext. For example, one picture shows an actual picture of a Birch tree. There is one section that emphasis the author’s placement of art with no words on the page and they are from Jane’s actual childhood notebooks. The text simple, letting visual elements impart much of the story and all of the emotion. There is a final photo of grown-up Jane that to counter the actual picture of Jane and Jubilee on the title page, another aspect of creative art placement.

Response: I was so happy reading this book because I didn’t connect that this was about Jane Goodall until the part about her climbing into the chicken coop. Then it all clicked! I remember hearing that story when she came to visit our school, Southwestern University. She is such an incredible woman who was so inspiring in her talk! This book is really touching and does a great job of capturing her love for science and animals in a way that children can easily understand. 

Writing activity:
 ~Pursuing Dreams. Jane Goodall knew from an early age the work to which she wanted to devote her life. Ask your students to think and write about a dream that they have and to consider what they might need to do to achieve that dream. You might choose to make a class big book in which each student has a page to describe their goals.

      Jane Goodall and her toy monkey, Jubilee 

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