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Patrick McDonnell-beloved, bestselling author-artist and creator of the Mutts syndicated comic strip--shares the inspiring story of young Jane Goodall, the legendary and inspiring conservationist featured in the hit documentary film Jane.

In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true. With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young--and young at heart.

One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published April 5, 2011

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About the author

Patrick McDonnell

163 books349 followers
In 1994 McDonnell created the comic strip MUTTS which now appears in over 700 newspapers and 20 countries.

In 2005, McDonnell embarked on a children's book career. His first children’s book, which featured the MUTTS characters, The Gift of Nothing, quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Art (2006), his second release, told the story of a boy named Art who makes art. His next release, Just Like Heaven (2006), heralding the joys of simple blessings, was hailed in a starred review by Kirkus as 'a meditation on the true nature of miracles'. In 2007. McDonnell again returned to the New York Times bestseller list with Hug Time, featuring a kitten named Jules who goes around the world hugging endangered species. His fifth children’s book, South, was released in 2008.

McDonnell’s website, muttscomics.com, promotes his animal and earth friendly philosophy. Consistent with McDonnell’s concern for the environment, all of the MUTTS books are printed on recycled paper. He and his wife Karen O’Connell are vegetarian and happily reside with their formerly feral cat MeeMow.

from http://muttscomics.com/cast/patrick.asp

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,187 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
4,061 reviews31.3k followers
July 30, 2019
I didn’t realize this was a little biography of Jane Goodall. It’s about Jane as a child and how observant she was. She was given a stuffed animal little monkey that she did everything with and she dreamed of going to Africa one day and helping the animals. It was a great surprise to find out this was about Jane Goodall.

I love the artwork in this. On the page with words, they have all kinds of nature subjects like leaves and nuts and things as watermarks and then the page with the drawings is a very beautiful and detailed artwork page. They are happy little trees. At the end of the book is a little message from Jane and then an about page and how to get involved in helping animals.

The nephew wanted to observe animals like Jane did and I told him he would have to be quiet and still to do that and he seems to have an issue with that. He thinks he can be still. In his mind he can be still. He thought this book was ok. He said that the chicken laying the egg pooped out the egg. Oh boy. He gave this 3 stars. The niece thought it was a beautiful book, but she wants to read things older about this. She also gave this 3 stars.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,335 reviews
July 15, 2011
An absolute jewel! I loved this book. For me, it is a practically perfect offering with just the right amount of information, just the right amount of storytelling. Also, it's a sublime combination of McDonnell's winsome and whimsical artwork, and facsimiles of classical scientific art of birds and animals, while also featuring some of Jane's own artwork (I especially loved the spread of her childhood sketches and information from the "Alligator Society" she formed) and photographs from her childhood (the one of young Jane holding her best friend, the chimpanzee stuffed animal she received as a toddler, is so precious!) I really am not even going to try to put into words how much I adore this book. It just exudes warmth and love and inspiration! While the book itself is easy enough for the youngest picture book readers to enjoy, older children (and adults) will further appreciate the back matter with more information on Jane's life and a note from Jane herself talking about the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and the "Roots and Shoots" organization that helps children everywhere do something good for nature and wildlife.

I've got one of Goodall's own books on my shelf and this makes me even more eager to read it. A year or so ago we met a young man from Africa who worked at the JGI and couldn't say enough good things about the woman who founded it. I've always been a fan of her work but after reading "Me... Jane" I have to say that I feel like I've "met" this remarkable woman and can see why he is so enthusiastic about her! ;-)

A personal note to all my friends who have this on their "to-read" shelf. *Go read it!!!* ;-)
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,802 reviews1,235 followers
July 20, 2011
There is nothing I don’t love about this book. Wonderful photos and drawings. Adorable and engaging illustrations, and an interesting account of a young girl’s/women’s life: Jane Goodall. I'm a huge fan of Jane Goodall but other readers don’t have to be, and they don’t have to know a thing about her, in order to get a tremendous amount from this book. This true story is entertaining and educational and inspiring, and very charming.

I love Jane and Jubilee, her stuffed toy chimpanzee. The pictures and story are both so special. So many of the paintings got me smiling.

This is a lovely introduction to Goodall, to becoming a naturalist, to highlighting for children one possible path to making their dreams come to fruition. For young readers, I honestly can’t think of how this book could be more perfectly done. It’s a genuine gem.

So many thanks to Goodreads’ friend Chandra, who alerted me to this book and who now has to read this with her daughter, if they haven’t done so already!!!
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,206 reviews104 followers
May 31, 2023
Although I actually have not been able to totally enjoy the rather carton- like accompanying illustrations of Patrick McDonnell's Me ... Jane (as while they are indeed bright and lively, expressive, his illustrative style has simply never really been all that much to my personal and aesthetic tastes), I truly have massively appreciated and even loved this book (and do think the illustrations work well enough with the presented text, with the featured narrative). For Me ... Jane (and even if I am not an absolute fan of the illustrations) really does manage to present a very sweet and engaging narrative (and as such a perfect basic introduction to primatologist Jane Goodall's childhood), showing the intended audience, presenting to young children (but especially to young girls) how Jane as a child, always accompanied by her stuffed chimpanzee Jubilee, observes wildlife, researches and study animals, plants, ecology, hides in a chicken coop to figure out where eggs come from, climbs trees, reads about Tarzan of the Apes and his own Jane, dreaming about Africa, of going to Africa, of helping African animals, and then one day, Jane's cherished dream actually and completely coming true, becoming a reality, with last pictorial offering before the authors' notes showing a photograph of a now adult Jane Goodall tenderly extending her hand towards a young chimpanzee.

The supplemental author's note and especially the included message from Jane Goodall herself are appreciated and added bonuses with Me ... Jane (and I do so much appreciate that while textually, they are both perhaps a bit more dense and advanced than the main narrative, they are nevertheless understandable for even if not perhaps yet quite independently readable by the intended audience, in other words, that parents reading the author's note and message from Jane Goodall to or with their young children should really encounter few if any comprehension issues). And while personally, I do kind of wish that Patrick McDonnell had also included a list of book suggestions for further reading, he does in fact present two websites to check out, and while for book-oriented me, a website will not ever be on the same level and as appreciated as a bibliographical list of works (of books), I do realise that for today's children, the internet seems to have become not only one of the main but seemingly the main study and research source. Three and a half stars, rounded up to four stars, and recommended!
Profile Image for Paula.
Author 2 books219 followers
December 14, 2011
Jeez, the moment when you turn the page and she has grown up and gone to Africa and it's that famous picture of her greeting the baby chimpanzee with the back of her hand... took my breath away. This SHOULD be Patrick McDonnell's Caldecott. (Also for the tiny subtle look of shock on her face after she has hidden in the henhouse to observe where eggs come from. I would look shocked too.)
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,825 followers
February 25, 2011
Pity the picture book biographer. Theirs is not an easy lot. Seems to me that if you want to introduce a six-year-old to a famous person there are two ways of going about it. The first way is the David Adler method. He’s the fellow behind all those “A Picture Book of” books. Adler’s specialty is synthesizing a person into 32 or 40 odd pages. Along the way he has to boil down a human life into as pure and simple a telling as possible. Sometimes this method works well, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it used to be the only way of creating children’s biographies. Then there’s method #2: You take your subject and select just a moment from their life. Which is to say, you give them breadth and depth and meaning, then do the whole summary of who they actually were in the Endnotes. The advantage to this method is that you can actually explain a concept to a kid, by making the biographical subject into a kind of literary character. Biographies of famous people that limit their focus almost entirely to their subjects’ childhoods are actually kind of rare. Famous people do not necessarily arise out of interesting, cheerful childhoods, after all. So really, one of the many things that I admire about Patrick McDonnell’s first foray into non-fiction is that his subject, Jane Goodall, presents him with early years that were practically custom made to be relayed. The result, Me . . . Jane is the rare picture book biography that manages to please biography fans, fiction fans, and chimpanzee fans (albeit, stuffed) alike.

Young Jane noticed things. Outdoorsy things. With her stuffed chimp Jubilee at her side, there were lots of mysteries to notice too. Jane was the type to climb tall trees on sunny days, or to hide in the chicken coop to uncover the source of eggs. When she read her Tarzan she’d want to be in Africa with all the animals just like him. And when she got older, her dreams really did come true. Backmatter include a short section “About Jane Goodall” and a “A Message from Jane” herself.

Odds are that McDonnell’s a familiar name on the comics page of your local newspaper. Known primarily as the man behind the MUTTS comic strip, I think it’s fair to say that McDonnell wasn’t the obvious person to write this book. I say that, even though I’m aware that animal rights are his passion. We’re talking about a guy that’s a member of the Humane Society’s board of directors and who has used MUTTS as a way of drawing attention to everything from The Wildlife Land Trust to New Jersey’s animal population control fund. However, I have seen his previous picture books. They have names like Just Like Heaven and Hug Time and for my desiccated, not to say sardonic, heart and soul they do nothing for me. Animal cuteness is not one of my weaknesses. So when I discovered that McDonnell was tackling a real person and a real life I approached the idea with more than a mite bit of trepidation. Jane Goodall, let’s face it, would be easy to cutesy up (all the more so when you learn about her life). Though it was his idea in the first place, was McDonnell the right guy to tell her tale? Answer: Yup. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t like to see her life depicted by other authors and illustrators as well, but McDonnell does something with Me . . . Jane that wins you over right from the start: He gets the tone right. The tone, the telling, the selection of facts, the illustrations, and the slam bang ending.

Sometimes a person’s life fits together so perfectly it’s as if it was destined for a picture book biography. Jane Goodall’s a perfect example of this. If the title of this book strikes you as too twee, that may be because you’re unaware of how eerie it actually is. Growing up, Jane really was given a stuffed chimpanzee at a young age. With the name “Jane” she also grew fascinated with the books about Tarzan of the Apes “in which another girl, also named Jane, lived in the jungles of Africa.” She was a naturalist from birth, it seems, creating her own wildlife society as a kid and spending as much time as possible outdoors. There are also little moments from her life that McDonnell takes the best advantage of. For example, in one scene Jane hides in a chicken coop to learn where eggs come from. When the text reads that she “observed the miracle”, a sentence that might come off as a bit sentimental (it’s hard to pull off the word “miracle” regardless of context) instead feels right on target.

In terms of the art, McDonnell indulges in a muted palette of India ink and watercolors. Jane’s world isn’t necessarily sepia, but there’s a slight brownish tinge to everything, indicating that we’re dealing with the past. For the most part these images take place in reality, but when the switchover occurs and Jane begins to pretend that she’s in Africa, swinging from vines like Tarzan himself, there’s a clear distinction in place to keep kids from getting too confused. In an interesting twist, McDonnell’s watercolors are paired alongside a series of stamped images. Eggs and leaves, moons and trees. They’re hardly noticeable on a first reading, barely drawing the eye or any attention to themselves. Even when you do notice them you might find that some stamps are more perfectly put down than others. The collective effect after a while is that the book starts to feel like Jane’s own notebook. Wildlife has permeated every facet of her story, until that final image. This is one of the very rare books that closes everything with a photograph. The effect is striking, a bit shocking, and darned if it didn’t make me tear up a little. I’ve always wished for photography to take its rightful place in the annals of children’s literature, so why is it that this is the first time I’ve seen a biographical picture book illustrator use a real-life photo to drill home to the child reader that the character they just met was a real person?

McDonnell’s art is good in this book, but what I really admired was his tendency to make Jane not just his subject but also, in a sense, his fellow collaborator. Some illustrator/authors have a hard time letting go long enough to show the art that their artistic subjects created. It can be off-putting to read a biography of Picasso or Monet, only to find the book peppered with the illustrator’s versions of their works and not the works themselves. Jane Goodall wasn’t even an artist in the traditional sense, but McDonnell unearths drawings and sketches she made as a kid and as an adult and sees fit to include them in his story. So it is that we get to see the real pages from Jane’s “Aligator Society” (misspelling intentional) meticulously created when she was just a kid, as well as a final amusing sketch made on site in 1960 of Jane sleeping in a tree with a chimp taking up residence in her tent. It seems that McDonnell makes his strongest points (like the final photo) when he steps back and allows his subject to make a personal appearance in some manner.

My sole quibble, if I must have one, is that I’m a fan of a little backmatter to a non-fiction work, no matter how brief. McDonnell’s is by no means the first biography of Ms. Goodall to be written for kids, so it might have been nice to see links the bios of her done by folks like Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen or Julie Fromer. Failing that, Ms. Goodall has actually written a couple books for kids herself. A mention of her picture book Rickie & Henri could have provided a fun crossover connection, however small.

Some biographical subjects have lives that are difficult to explain to very young kids. Martin Luther King Jr.? Well . . . see . . . there was this thing called segregation and . . . . Sacajawea? Well, she sort of led some guys on a long walk and . . . you see what I mean. Jane Goodall is pretty easy in comparison. Jane Goodall? She got to work with chimps! Outside! And get to know them and save them from bad people. But on a more basic level, Jane’s just like a lot of outdoorsy kids today. The ones that like to explore bushes and study insects and write things down. Mini naturalists in the making. Put in that light and it’s strange to think that this is one of the first picture book biographies ever made of her. There’s definitely room for more, since this one only provides the most cursory of summaries, but for children who’ve never read a biography before Me . . . Jane operates like a nonfiction gateway drug. Get them hooked on this one and who knows what other picture book bios you might be able to feed them later on down the road. Today Jane Goodall, tomorrow learning about the world. A singular creation, one that does both its author and its subject proud.

For ages 4-8.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
January 7, 2020
In this delightful picture-book biography, Patrick McDonnell presents the story of celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall's childhood, when she explored and observed the natural world around her, with her stuffed chimpanzee Jubilee in tow. Watching the birds and spiders create their own homes, studying the plants and animals in her backyard, and falling in love with the idea of Africa while reading such books as Tarzan of the Apes , Goodall decided that one day she would travel to that continent, and study the animals there...

"Sweet" hardly seems an adequate word for Me...Jane, with its wonderful combination of simple but evocative text and adorable watercolor illustrations, but it keeps popping into my head, regardless. I don't know that it is really the best book about the life of Goodall, as the main narrative really had very few of the "facts" that one would expect - where and when she was born, how she came to Africa and what she did there - although they did show up the afterword. But it is an excellent examination of those qualities - curiosity, love of the natural world and of animals, an adventurous spirit - that made Goodall who she is. It's a book, less about what Jane Goodall has done, than how she became who she is. For that, I love it!

Now I think I will track down Jeanette Winter's The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps (oddly enough, another picture-book published this year), and see if it fills in some more biographical details. Perhaps the two will complement one another... we'll have to see! In any case, Me...Jane is a lovely book, one I highly recommend to young animal lovers, or to children who dream of adventure, and doing big things.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,648 reviews536 followers
July 25, 2011
Okay, I normally NEVER give anything 5 stars aside from classics that have been around for years and years. But I am breaking my own rule (not an uncommon occurrence, come to think of it) to give this one 5 because it is THAT GOOD!

Jeanette Winter's The Watcher has gotten a lot of good press, but this one absolutely leaves it in the dust. Her book is attractive, but when you get down to it, pretty pedestrian--just another nice picture book biography.

Winter shows Jane with a stuffed monkey toy, but never mentions anything about it, even in a note. On the other hand McDonnell begins HIS book with a photo of young Jane and her toy, and then this opening sentence:
Jane had a stuffed chimpanzee toy named Jubilee

From the start, Jubilee is a character in the story--and what we have here is not a standard bio, but rather a story about a little girl named Jane who loves animals, who is curious about nature and who keeps animal notebooks (McDonnell includes a 2 page spread from Jane's real notebook).
His gentle text and expressive cartoons (hey, this is the guy who writes "Mutts") work wonderfully together. And then there is the lovely ending, which goes from little Jane snuggling down at home with Jubilee, to adult Jane waking in her tent in Africa to a photo of the real Jane Goodall, crouching down to greet a REAL chimpanzee. Perfectly done, and an "aww" moment without a drop of saccharine.

There IS an afterword about Goodall's life and work, and a message from Goodall herself. But this isn't a biography to be used for a report. It's a book about a girl named Jane who loved animals--and who grew up to get to be with them. And it's a book that I hope ends up on the Caldecott committee's list of books to consider.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
May 2, 2011
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.
Profile Image for Sara.
435 reviews3 followers
March 20, 2015
I read a looooooot of picture books for work, and I rarely add them to my goodreads account because it would put me at my goal for the year in like a week, and I also have another document at work where I keep track of good picture books. This one, however, is just too good to not keep a record of on here. This is by far the best picture book I've read so far this year. Simple and elegant and joyous and beautiful. Everything comes together PERFECTLY -- the words are simple and gorgeous and poetic without being flowery, and the illustrations are so happy I just want to run outside and frolic in the sunshiney. There's an adorable tiny picture of a fox I would highly consider getting tattooed somewhere on myself :) Underneath it all is an incredibly heartwarming story about following your dreams, loving nature, and being a happy person. Everything about this book is perfect. I predict a Caldecott.
Profile Image for Kristina.
860 reviews197 followers
June 20, 2018
I absolutely adored it!

It was educational, inspirational and authentic. We're following Jane's dream since she was a very little girl and we see her accomplish it despite people not believing in her and her abilities.

She is an example for all little girls out there - go and follow your wildest dreams without fear!
Profile Image for Carolynne.
813 reviews25 followers
February 3, 2012
_Me . . . Jane_, scenes from the early life of the inspiring naturalist and activist Jane Goodall, just won a Caldecott honor award for one of the most distinguished picture books published in 2011. (_A Ball for Daisy_ just won the Medal. I cannot wait to see it if it is better than this one!) In a beautifully designed book illustrated with watercolors and India ink, McDonnell has enriched the drawings with drawings made by Goodall herself, as well as a funny drawing about her time in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve, and exquisite ornamental engravings from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Even the font, Caslon Book, has a delicate elegance that enhances the appearance of the book. Not a typical children's biography, this eschews dull details in favor of highlights from Goodall's life, like her interest in the Tarzan books, which seemed to show that a young woman could actually live among animals in the jungles of Africa. These books may have helped her achieve her early dreams of living among the animals of Africa. There is a message from Goodall and an author's note about her work. The Lexile number is AD740 (so, read aloud to young children.) I thought last year's Medalist, _A Sick Day for Amos McGee_, was pleasant but not truly outstanding. This one picks up the slack and lives up to the Caldecott standard.
Profile Image for Ann.
511 reviews
July 21, 2011
This book would be wonderful, charming, inspiring and endearing even if it weren't based on the childhood of Jane Goodall - but because it is, the book becomes even more incredible.

Simply told with sweet illustrations, McDonnell has manages to capture the imagination and dreams of children. This isn't a mini-biography by any means, but it shows the dreams of a young Jane Goodall, and we can gain a few insights as to how she grew up to be the person and scientist she is.

What makes this book even more special is that included in the pages are some of Goodall's own illustrations from her childhood, and even a photograph of her (smiling broadly) with her own toy ape.

I can't recommend this highly enough.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,449 reviews473 followers
April 16, 2017
Me...Jane - Patrick McDonnell  For such a brief book, McDonnell has done a marvelous thing. He doesn't try to give us the entire life of Jane Goodall, just a glimpse at a child who was fascinated by animals and nature and Africa and how that lead to the adult she became. The art is perfect, incorporating Victorian animal illustrations, a sweet, almost cartoonish style, and memorabilia from Goodall. I expect the child who is like Goodall (albeit with pandas and China) will really love it.

Library copy.
Profile Image for Travis.
Author 3 books42 followers
January 25, 2011
There are biographies that are picture books, and there are picture book biographies. The difference, you ask? The former is a fairly detailed bio with illustrations added – usually resulting in a book most appropriate for older audiences. The latter is picture book through and through – minimal text, basic vocab, simple story. With Me…Jane, Patrick McDonnell (Wag!, South) has created a picture book biography – it keeps the focus narrow, with successful results.

On the first page we are introduced to a young Jane Goodall and her stuffed toy chimp Jubilee. An inseparable pair, Jubilee accompanies Jane as she liberally indulges her curiosity in the natural world, including a memorable discovery of where eggs come from:

… [S]he and Jubilee snuck into Grandma Nutt’s chicken coop…hid beneath some straw, stayed very still…and observed the miracle.

Jane recorded her findings and, with the help of the Tarzan books she read, dreamed of a life studying animals in Africa. The powerful final image, a photograph showing Goodall reaching out to a baby chimpanzee, the real-life incarnation of her childhood toy, will linger with readers and let them know that Goodall achieved her dream. Beautiful.

The choice to cover only Jane Goodall’s childhood and not her exploits in Africa could be a sticking point for some. But if viewed simply as a chronicle of Goodall’s early steps to becoming an anthropologist, this focus on childhood fits, and will work for a K-2nd grade audience. Backmatter includes more detailed information about Goodall’s work studying primates as well as a note from Goodall herself.

The lovely watercolor illustrations hit all the earth tones you would expect, with a peacefulness that matches Goodall’s famously placid demeanor. Images are also pulled from other sources and presented in rubber stamp-like single-color. For instance, on the page that describes Jane’s longing to visit Africa, an image of ship, a map, and waves adorn the blank space, adding richness.

A woman who made important anthropological discoveries began as a girl who loved the outdoors. Me…Jane isn’t a blow-by-blow of Goodall’s entire career, but a laudable introduction and jumping-off point for young readers.
Profile Image for Julie.
434 reviews26 followers
January 11, 2012
Is it just me or is the Caldecott competition really stiff this year? Yet another book I hope gets some attention. I love the use of engravings and archival photographs to round out the illustrations. Such a beautiful book about an inspiring woman. Great message (ugh, I know) for kids. Paraphrased: Be an ubernerd and you just might make the world a better place.

Random anecdote: When I was a kid, Jane Goodall spoke at my elementary school. (It's still somewhat surreal to think that I've seen her in person.) During her talk, Goodall mentioned how jealous she was of fictional Jane and how she just knew Tarzan would like her (Goodall) better because (rough paraphrase) "she wasn't such a twit." For some reason I've always remembered that, even over other things she said. Probably because I can relate. For example: Julie of the Wolves? Yeah, the wolves like me better. They told me so on the phone last week. Sorry.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,016 reviews9 followers
June 19, 2011
A delightful retelling of Jane Goodall's childhood for the early-elementary set. The combination of historical woodcuts, McDonnell's appealing drawings, and the occasional photograph will interest children and charm adults. McDonnell distills story elements, such as Jane's observation of how eggs come from a chicken, into a few sentences that retain the charm of the full story.

An actual "magazine" spread by young Jane is a particularly wonderful element, as is Jane Goodall's own postscript at the end.

Recommended for first- and second-graders who like animals, stories about real people, and simply a good book. Good for younger or less-advanced readers as a lapsit book too.
Profile Image for Edward Sullivan.
Author 5 books203 followers
March 8, 2011
Not a biography but a beautiful, magical, utterly charming imagining of Jane Goodall as a child. I love MUTTS, love all Patrick McDonnell's books. This is one not to be missed!
Profile Image for Julie G.
895 reviews2,920 followers
July 14, 2012
A must-have for all lovers of Jane Goodall or for children who love animals and the great outdoors.
Profile Image for Melissa.
776 reviews69 followers
September 17, 2011
I had to spend a long time with this one, but I am now officially on board. At first Patrick McDonnell's light touch with a pen, which I still associate with the comics page, didn't seem able to carry the nice heft of the written content, especially when juxtaposed with the real photos and juvenilia that he includes. I felt they were so strong that they didn't pair up well with the art. I'm still not completely sure that they do. However, knowing so many people had fallen in love with this, I made myself read it over and over. And I realized how perfectly paced and sequenced this narrative is. PERFECTLY. Each sentence and phrase leads with no wasted words or ideas to the next and takes us just that one little step forward in discovering Jane, until we discover her to be in Africa. Here is where I think the play between the art style and the photos works well, because it is a little shock to come out of the dreamy childhood to the photo and the proof that she managed to achieve her goals as an adult. Kind of like the surprise of stepping from black and white Kansas to the Technicolor Oz.

I still have some quibbles with the book, namely the back matter. McDonnell doesn't list his bibliography or research, just includes a further note about Jane Goodall and of course the letter from Jane herself. Now I can imagine that the facts of her life (that she had a stuffed chimp, that she spent time outside, that she crept into the chicken coop) are outlined in her various biographies, even if they aren't cited here. But when he steps more into her thoughts, ("Jane felt very much a part of it" and "Jane could feel her heart beating, beating, beating.") I find myself wondering if those indeed are feelings she has reported in her writings and biographies, or if they are artistic liberties that McDonnell has taken. Since he doesn't report where he got his facts, it's hard to tell. Obviously since Jane Goodall endorsed the book, she must find it a satisfactory representation, but the lack of sources in a juvenile biography still bothered me.

But did I mention this book is PERFECTLY paced? Seriously, the next time you get someone in the library who says they're an aspiring children's book writer, give them this book.
Profile Image for babyhippoface.
2,443 reviews135 followers
May 18, 2011
This is the story of Jane Goodall's life... well, the part that really matters to kids. Most biographies, even those written for children, touch on the childhood years of the biographee, then quickly move on to the "important stuff". Not so with this little lovely. In McDonnell's view of Goodall's life, her childhood was the important stuff, because it was where the vision for the important stuff was born.

McDonnell, creator of the always funny and often touching comic strip "Mutts", has said that this book is his love story to the work of Jane Goodall (see link below). This love story is told simply, but beautifully, and the illustrations are absolutely perfect. Picture this: young Jane and her stuffed chimp Jubilee sit, eyes closed in contentment, in a tree, accompanied by poetic words about Jane listening to the tree's heart, "beating, beating, beating...." {{sigh}} It makes me want to escape the world and climb into a tree myself.

McDonnell combined his signature-style, cartoon watercolors with monochromatic 19th- and 20th-century engravings for a flawless fusion of poetry and science. The illustrations breathe life into the story, filling the reader with a gentle sense of the dream of adventures waiting to happen.

It all comes together so perfectly that you just know there will be children who read this book, turn to the nearest adult and say, "So she really went to Africa when she grew up? What else did she do?" And then, if all is right with the world, they will head to the nearest library to see what else they can find about the daring Ms. Goodall, and dream of going on adventures of their own.

To hear Patrick McDonnell speak about this book, visit TeachingBooks.
Profile Image for Jane G Meyer.
Author 12 books54 followers
October 10, 2011
I don't just love this book because it's about another Jane. Just want to get that out of the way....

Everything about this book speaks to quality and endurance. The story is well told and fun, the illustrations are darling, intermixed with the most fabulous engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries. The quality of the binding and the paper also proves that the publishers want this book to last a very long while on a child's shelf.

Me, Jane is about Jane Goodall as a little girl. How she toted around her stuffed chimpanzee and loved and studied nature from an early age. Very darling and a great pick for any adventurous little one. And it's not just for girls. My son loves when Jane goes into the hen house and hides to watch the hen lay an egg. He also puts his own hand over his heart every time I read this part of the text:

Jane often climbed her favorite tree, which she named Beech. She would lay her cheek against its trunk and seem to feel the sap flowing beneath the bark. Jane could feel her own heart

Profile Image for Janessa.
210 reviews13 followers
December 11, 2013
This little picture book opened up a whole new world to my nine year old daughter. She has always loved animals, and she connected deeply with the depiction of a young Jane Goodall playing with her stuffed chimp Jubilee. My daughter poured over the double-spread page showing some of the games and activities Jane created for her childhood animal club, and re-created some of the activities to do with her own friends. But the real magic of the book was watching young Jane keep that love of animals into her adulthood, and taking it with her to make a difference in the world. My daughter loved seeing McDonnell's engaging illustration of young Jane going to sleep in her bed transform in the next page to a photograph of Jane Goodall as an adult in Africa, reaching out to touch a chimpanzee. It has filled my daughter with an enthusiasm that her dreams can come true, and deepened her passion for helping any living creature that might need her attention. I can't say enough about this unassuming but powerful treasure of a book.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book649 followers
August 11, 2017
This is a wonderful story that shows how curiosity, imagination, wonder and study can lead to a truly adventurous life, one that makes a difference in the world. The narrative and illustrations blend together perfectly, and make this a book that can work with children of all ages.

I loved the additional biographical information at the end of the book as well as the note from Jane Goodall herself. Overall, we thought this was a terrific story and we really enjoyed reading it together.

I appreciate that it was given a Caldecott Honor distinction, but I think that it should have been given the Medal.

This book was selected as one of the books for the September 2017- Caldecott Honors 2008-2012 discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
29 reviews
April 15, 2012
This biographical picturebook was awarded the 2012 Caldecott Honor and was named one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books in 2011. It is intended for children ages 0-8 years(N-P). In this book the author focuses on Jane Goodall's childhood and her early ambition to work with animals.
I gave this book 5 stars. For starters, it is beautiful. The book has a really personal feel to it, with some of Jane Goodall's childhood artwork and pictures of her as a child and as an adult. It felt more like looking through a scrapbook. The artwork is delicate with warm earthy watercolors outlined in black. The text is clean and simple.
This is a great way to introduce a young child to Jane Goodall. After reading this book, I would plan a nature walk and have the children collect specimans to create their own nature scrapbooks.
This book is available in print.
Profile Image for Peacegal.
10.2k reviews94 followers
May 24, 2011
A humane educator’s bookshelf can certainly hold more than one delightful picture book about Jane Goodall. Unlike the other recent book, The Watcher, Me...Jane focuses entirely on Goodall’s childhood.

Jane is written by the creator of the beloved comic strip “Mutts,” Patrick McDonnell, who can always be trusted to put in a kind word for animals. Young hearts will soar along with Jane’s as she dreams of

A life living with, and helping, all animals.

And that’s just what she did.
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