School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 2-In this tender homage to the famous primatologist, McDonnell gives readers a peek into Jane Goodall's formative years. Even as a young child she had an abiding love of the natural world and took every opportunity to study and enjoy the plants and animals around her. "It was a magical world full of joy and wonder, and Jane felt very much a part of it." Her constant companion, whether climbing her favorite tree or exploring her grandmother's chicken coop, was her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee. Her fascination with Africa was presaged by the drawings and puzzles she made as a child for her club, the "Alligator Society," as well as her fondness for Tarzan of the Apes. Her dream of going there to live with the animals and write about them took hold when she was 10 and the fact that she has devoted her life to that mission is a testament to her dedication and an inspiration for young dreamers everywhere. The artist's engaging, almost naive cartoons, done in India ink and watercolor, set the perfect tone. As the girl reads and learns more about Africa, the drawings become more fanciful with a giraffe and elephant appearing in the English countryside, and Jane and Jubilee swinging on vines through the trees. These charming images are complemented throughout with 19th- and early-20th-century engravings and photos of Goodall with her beloved chimps. The package is an appealing and satisfying introduction to a well-known scientist and activist. Concluding notes give more information about her and her life's work.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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In this picture book biography, McDonnell (Wag!) examines Goodall's very English childhood and her unexpected wish-nurtured by early exposure to Tarzan-to live and work in Africa. On the left, earnest text appears on cream-colored paper embellished with delicate vintage images of trees and animals. On the right, by contrast, McDonnell's winsome ink and watercolor drawings come across as sweetly goofy. Jane spends most of her time sitting quietly, watching living things. "One day," McDonnell writes, "curious Jane wondered where eggs came from. So she and Jubilee [her beloved stuffed chimpanzee] snuck into Grandma Nutt's chicken coop... hid beneath some straw, stayed very still... and observed the miracle." (The hen looks just as surprised as Jane.) Best of all is a spread that shows Jane fantasizing living like Tarzan's Jane in Africa; she swings on a vine through the jungle, dressed in a sensible cardigan and a tartan skirt. Back matter fills in readers about Goodall's accomplishments as an adult; McDonnell's concentration on her childhood fantasies carries a strong message to readers that their own dreams-even the wildly improbable ones-may be realizable, too. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Little Jane loves her stuffed animal, a chimpanzee named Jubilee, and carries him everywhere she goes. Mainly, they go outdoors, where they watch birds building their nests and squirrels chasing each other. Jane reads about animals in books and keeps a notebook of sketches, information, and puzzles. Feeling her kinship with all of nature, she often climbs her favorite tree and reads about another Jane, Tarzan's Jane. She dreams that one day she, too, will live in the African jungle and help the animals. And one day, she does. With the story's last page turn, the illustrations change from ink-and-watercolor scenes of Jane as a child, toting Jubilee, to a color photo of Jane Goodall as a young woman in Africa, extending her hand to a chimpanzee. Quietly told and expressively illustrated, the story of the child as a budding naturalist is charming on its own, but the photo on the last page opens it up through a well-chosen image that illuminates the connections between childhood dreams and adult reality. On two appended pages, About Jane Goodall describes her work, while A Message from Jane invites others to get involved. This remarkable picture book is one of the few that speaks, in a meaningful way, to all ages.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist