Dreaming of Africa

Written and Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
(Little, Brown, & Company, 2011, New   York, $15.99)

Jane Goodall, chimpanzee researcher, conservationist, and UN Messenger of Peace, was once a little girl who adored her plush chimpanzee. In Me…Jane, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of Jane, a girl who loves the Tarzan books and dreams of one day living amidst African wildlife. Meanwhile, she learns all she can about animals. One day, she awakens to find her wishes have come true. McDonnell’s gentle prose and illustrations evoke a sense of approachable wonder about the natural world. Photographs of the young and grown Jane and examples of her childhood drawings complement his illustrations, further blurring the boundaries between her dreams and her future. Above all, Me…Jane suggests young readers should prize reveries for their own sake – a valuable lesson in a world in which even childhood is fast-paced.

-Dorothy A. Dahm





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