Me…Jane – a picture book biography

Jane dreamed of a life in Africa…

Patrick McDonnell’s Me…Jane is a short picture book biography of Jane Goodall.

Focusing on Jane’s childhood, her curiosity about animals, her adventures with her stuffed toy chimpanzee, and her perseverance in learning “all that she could about the animals and plants she studied in her backyard,”  McDonnell created a wonderful resource to pique the imagination of young readers.

Following the whimsical illustration style he uses in his famous comic strip series, “Mutts,” McDonnell includes his own drawings of frogs, butterflies, chickens, elephants, giraffes, and Jubilee, Jane’s toy chimpanzee, in the book.  In addition, he includes two pages of sketches drawn by Jane Goodall when she was a young girl in a club called the Alligator Society.

The book ends with a photograph of the adult Jane Goodall reaching out to a real chimpanzee, who has his hand stretched toward her. As an added reference, McDonnell includes two pages at the back of the book, summarizing Jane’s accomplishments as a primatologist and humanitarian, and finally, a letter from Jane Goodall herself.

If you know a child who likes to explore, is interested in animals, or just needs to know that dreams do come true – or if you need a little inspiration yourself – read Me…Jane.