October 5, 2015
“Me . . . Jane” by Patrick McDonnell
Me . . . Jane
by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company
When Jane was a little girl, she has a stuffed animal named Jubilee. Jane took this toy chimp everywhere she went and, for Jane, that was most often someplace outside. She watched birds and spiders and squirrels. She read books about alligators and other animals from all over the world. She and Jubilee even hid in the hen-house to find out where eggs come from.
Jane felt very connected with this magical world, from the trees to the wind. She read about Tarzan of the Apes and dreamed of a life in Africa. And eventually, her dream came true.
For those of you who haven’t guessed, this is a picture book about primatologist Jane Goodall. The last spread is simply amazing with a photo of Jane reaching out to be touched by a baby chimpanzee. Goodall was sent to study chimpanzees by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey. She didn’t know exactly how to be a primatologist so she adapted the practices of the naturalists that she had read about. She went out into the wild and she watched.
This book doesn’t really get into that, except in the author’s note, but it does tell the story of a young girl who loves the natural world as well as her stuffed buddy, Jubilee. This isn’t a wild, rowdy picture book as much as it is a touching story about hopes and dreams and heart. Lots and lots of heart.
The funniest thing about writing this up is that I wanted to point out that Patrick McDonnell’s art work reminded me of the art work in the comic strip Mutts. Guess what? He’s the creator of the comic strip too. As it is in the comic strip, his artwork in the book is both simple and expressive. I especially love when Jane and Jubilee discover the origin of eggs.
This book won’t be your best choice for a high energy story time but it is definitely an excellent choice for cuddle-time reading, indoors or out.