Friday, June 14, 2013

Learning from Picture Books: Me...Jane

Since I’m inescapably drawn to writing picture books when I'm not working on my middle grade novels, I decided I’d better start reading more of them and figuring out what makes them work. So every other Friday, I'm posting "Learning from Picture Books" to share what I've learned.


written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

published by Little Brown and Company

From Amazon:

In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true.
My thoughts as a writer
I loved the way the author took biographical information and pulled out the small details that a child could connect with, such as a stuffed toy, reading, climbing trees and playing outside. Every word counted in this story.
The illustrations complimented the story and also told a story on their own if you didn’t consider the text. It's a really good example of how to make biographical information accessible for young children.

My thoughts as a teacher:
This story had a wonderful message of following your dreams and interests in life.
It also would fit well with discussions of observing and drawing nature and the outside world, as a good springboard for talking about the kinds of observations or “miracles” children might witness outside. Children might like to try this cartoony-style of drawing to depict the environment outside their school.


  1. Great idea! Picture books have the power to teach us so much.

  2. What an interesting concept -- a PB about Jane Goodall.


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I’ve decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).