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Dare to Dream to Change the World

Me…Jane ($15.99, Little Brown Books, ages 1 and up) by author, illustrator and comic book artist, Patrick McDonnell, has won so many book awards that we simply cannot list them all. Most recently it was named a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book, and we at Good Reads with Ronna had to find out for ourselves just what all the buzz is about.

This story is about a curious ten-year-old girl named, Jane. Along with her favorite stuffed animal chimp, Jubilee, Jane explores the natural world outside her house, climbing trees, watching birds and reading books about what she discovers. She even hides in her granny’s chicken coup to watch a hen lay an egg. One day Jane takes a fancy to the animals of the African jungle after reading about them in Tarzan of the Apes. She is so touched by the book that she dreams of a life in Africa, living with and helping wild animals. One day her dream comes true, as she grows up to be Dr. Jane Goodall, world renowned for her studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania.

The story, written in simple prose, so beautifully and subtly depicts the innocence of a curious and highly intelligent child. The illustrations are really darling, with their muted tones, printed on matte-finished paper – perfectly fitting for the nature of this story. In the back of the book is a page with information about the accomplishments of Dr. Goodall and another page with an encouraging message from Jane herself. What I love about the book is that it inspires the youngest readers to embrace their passions and realize their own dreams of changing the world one day. (We certainly need more scientists to help save the planet!) There’s nothing better in life than finding your calling, and there’s no better example of a person who has done that than Jane Goodall.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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