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September 22, 2011

Our Best Book from the library haul: Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell’s Me… Jane is the story of an ordinary little girl with a stuffed chimpanzee who just happens to grow up to be Jane Goodall. Significant for being the first biography Harriet’s ever encountered, it also stands up on its own merits as a picture book with delightful illustrations of little Jane getting up to adventures ordinary (sneaking into the hen house to watch hens laying eggs) and extraordinary (Jane imagining herself like Jane from the Tarzan stories swinging on vines through the jungles of Africa). The story awakes its reader to the “magical world full of joy and wonder”, and also tells tells the inspiring story of a little who dared to dream big and whose dreams came true.

In addition to McDonnell’s sweet cartoon rendering of Jane and all the animals, the text pages are enhanced by gorgeous scientific drawings of plants, insects, and other animals. Most remarkable are the samples of Jane Goodall’s own juvenilia,  including official documents from a childhood club called “The Aligator Society”.

The end of the book contains a detailed “About Jane Goodall” section and even “A Message from Jane”, which urges that “the life of each one of us matters in the scheme of things”. From even the littlest stories come great things. Or maybe the message is more that even great things have little stories at the heart of them.

One thought on “Our Best Book from the library haul: Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell”

  1. patricia says:

    What serendipity! I was just reading this charming book for the first time this morning. I’ve been a big fan of McDonnell and Jane Goodall for a long time.

    Guy brought home a pile of picture books for review, for potential adds to his children’s program, and I’ve been having fun exploring. I also finally read Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! Fabulous.

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