This picturebook is so lovely, from it’s photo album-like jacket design, to its 19th & early 20th century engravings, and all of the wonderful illustrations by Patrick McDonnell in between. I have been hoarding this book in a pile to review for awhile, and I was so happy to see it was a Caldecott Honor book (along with another favorite, Grandpa Green.)
Me…Jane is like a scrapbook of Jane’s young life, combining actual photos of Jane with her stuffed chimp Jubilee, with the muted engravings of animals, leaves and other things from nature, as well as the gentle comic-style illustrations of the main story. The colors are soft and muted. Most of the text appears on the left page, along with the engravings, and the illustrations on the right, giving the story a slower pace and the reader time to take in the story.I particularly love the double-spread filled with Jane’s actual drawings and diagrams from when she was a child.
The story begins with Jane receiving her stuffed monkey, Jubilee, and takes the reader through her childhood of being outside and observing nature. She learns as much as she can, reading books about animals, and falling in love with Africa, through stories of Tarzan. All of this is done with a very life-like Jubilee by her side. Then she falls asleep, only to wake up in Africa, grown up and studying the chimpanzees. The final picture is not an illustration, but the famous photo of Jane Goodall with a hand outstretched and touching a baby chimp, doing the same as her. The final few pages contain information about Jane, a message from her, and some information about the illustrations and engravings.
Completely Caldecott-worthy. Love it!