I wish it was possible to put this book into every child’s hands in the world. A strong endorsement, but before you think it’s just hyperbole, look at Patrick McDonnell’s new picture book. If we want to give books to children that inspire wonder and curiosity, then this is a good place to start. The story of Jane Goodall’s childhood passion for learning about nature and animals could just as easily apply to a child who loves flowers or architecture or music. McDonnell’s book is about following your dreams, and the fact that it’s about a real person, makes the story that much more powerful. Me…Jane is about Goodall’s childhood. It does not cover her life as a humanitarian and conservationist, but it tells the reader how it all began. And like the best books for children, it tells them just enough to leave them with questions as well as answers.
The art work, as it is in all of McDonnell’s books, is delicate and tender. There are scenes of Jane playing with her toy chimp, Jubilee, that made me gasp at their sweetness. And then, there is a two-page spread of sketches Jane drew as a child. The book is a little masterpiece. A book to inspire dreams and wonder. This is a must-read for every child and maybe every adult who could use a little dose of inspiration!