Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell.

Cover Art for Me... Jane by Patrick McDonnellWhen Jane Goodall was six, she actually carried a stuffed monkey named Jubilee everywhere she went.  I am not making this up.  When she was just a little older she kept the most amazing taxonomies of animals and sketches of animals.  Both the photos of Jane and Jubilee and reproductions of her journals are woven into a wonderful new picture book about Goodall, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the Mutts comic strip.  I have never seen a more beautiful biography written in so few words.  There are many books about Jane Goodall, but this one is incredibly appealing and accessible to young children.

The layered illustrations and use of real journal pages adds dimension without complexity.  I can actually read this book at story hour and it holds the attention of very young children.  I have watched older children pour over the pages, studying the drawings Jane made as a young girl.  It is full of possibility, effectively giving the message that kids’ ideas really do matter.

This book is inspiring without being preachy, and just whimsical enough.  In my humble opinion it’s the best picture book of 2011.

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