Kid’s Corner: Me… Jane
Many of you know that my daughter’s obsession with princesses, fairies, mermaids, and all things frilly drives me crazy. And while I desperately hope that it’s a phase that will end soon, I’m also constantly on the lookout for books that will expose her to the idea that girls don’t have to be princesses. But, head to the library or bookstore and you’ll find the shelves packed with books that reinforce either the princess craze or gender stereotypes (Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, Disney princess books, fairy tales). Try to sort through the books where the girl protagonist isn’t a princess, dancer, fairy, mermaid and you end up with a lot of books about animals.
So, I was thrilled when E’s grandparents sent her the book we are reviewing this month….
Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Reviewed by: Jen & 4 year-old E.
Find it here:Me . . . Jane
Me… Jane is a beautiful picture book about a little girl named Jane who dreams about growing up to help animals. Parents understand that the book is about Dr. Jane Goodall and book includes a short bio and a few photos.
My thoughts: I loved this book and it was a pleasure to read it to my daughter. The story/plot is very simple and not exactly action-packed but it teaches children about caring for animals, learning through reading, and working to make dreams come true (and realistic dreams not princess dreams). The book is beautifully illustrated and perhaps one of the most beautiful picture books I’ve come across. Here’s an example of one page:
What I liked most about this book was the fact that it gave me an opportunity to teach my daughter about Jane Goodall. I noticed that she wasn’t hugely engaged with the story but we had one of our best book conversations about this book because she was blown away by the fact that we were reading about a real person. Ever since reading it (about a month ago), she has started asking us if characters are real or pretend. We’ve since watched a few clips featuring Jane Goodall. And for every ten “I want to be a princess when I grow up” statements we know get an occasional “I want to be an animal doctor.”
But, what did E think?
Me: What did you think about it?
E: Good… I liked it.
Me: What was it about?
E: A girl and the monkeys
Me: What did you like about the book?
E: She did lots of fun things. She played with the monkeys. She got bigger (at the end of the book there is a photo of Jane as an adult).
Me: How many stars do you give it out of 5 (we made 5 stars out of perler beads so she can now allocate the appropriate stars)?
E: I’ll give it three stars.
So overall, E liked but didn’t love this book. I liked it much more than she did but while it may not have been her favorite book, it did generate a nice discussion. It didn’t change her love of princesses as you can see in the video below.
Coincidentally, Book Riot recently published a post titled “The Best Feminist Picture Books” that features this book. You can read the full list here: The Best Feminist Picture Books.
Want to try the book for yourself or your child? Find it here: Me . . . Jane
Join us next month when we review one of the Magic Tree House chapter books!