Sunday, April 24, 2016

Me... Jane

Me... Jane by Patrick McDonnell is a beautiful biography about Jane Goodall's life. The story starts out by explaining how as a young girl, Jane, accompanied by her chimpanzee stuffed animal, Jubilee, would spend her days discovering the world around her. She wanted to know where eggs came from, so she and Jubilee hid in the chicken coop to find out. She wanted to climb trees and smell their sap, so they did that, too. McDonnell's illustrations show Jane dreaming of a life in Africa, swinging along vines and helping animals. McDonnell makes this transition from dreams to real life beautifully through his illustrations and words. He says, "At night Jane would tuck Jubilee into bed, say her prayers, and fall asleep... to awake one day.. to her dream come true". On this final page, a photograph of Jane Goodall and a chimpanzee fills the reader with hope and joy. 

This book qualifies as a Well- Illustrated book because its pictures establish the mood of an imaginary land turned real, and since the illustrations develop the plot so well. The colors are soft and warm, and make the reader feel happy and inspired.

This book would be wonderful for introducing students in primary grades to the genre of biography, along with the idea of following your passion and dreams. I would use it as a read aloud, since I would love to watch the look on the class's face upon seeing the photo of the real Jane Goodall, and because the development of the story is great for a whole group.

One important note to mention is that this book mostly covers Jane's life as a young girl. We do not learn much about her work with animals, aside from the fact that she was passionate about them. There is a small portion of text at the end of the book that explains more detail about Jane's work, but this information is not included in the story itself. When introducing biography this would be important to point out, along with the idea that biographies can focus on any given part of someone's life in order to serve a specific purpose. This element of Me... Jane, would probably leave readers inspired to learn more about Jane Goodall's life.
Me... Jane is inspiring and sweet story that kids in early elementary grades would love to read.

Image result for me... jane
Jane and Jubilee dreaming of Africa

Here is a link to the story being read aloud:

Here is a link to a webpage with lesson plans surrounding this text:

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