Friday, May 8, 2015

By Patrick McDonnell

Awards: Caldecott Honor

Of special interest:  An open page spread early in this Easy biography features Jane Goodall’s actual notes and drawings that she did as a child. She ran a club for the neighborhood children called “The Alligator Society” and the sketches featured are from her own Alligator Society notebook.  The last page of the book is also an illustration that she did as an adult in the Gombe Game Reserve.

Book Talk
Patrick McDonnell tells this sweet biography story of Jane Goodall as a very, very young girl. Sentences are simple and in large font.  Illustrations are simplistic, childlike and engaging.

Me...Jane is a wonderful mentor for first or second graders who may want to write a biography on an interesting or famous person.

Readers will learn that as a young girl, Jane felt an unusually deep connection with nature.  She spent most of her childhood with her beloved stuffed animal—a chimpanzee named Jubilee outside exploring, discovering and examining the natural world.

One of her favorite things to do was to simply observe nature and take in the splendor and miracle of spiders spinning webs, squirrels chasing each other and birds making nests.

A favorite line: 
"One day, curious Jane wondered where eggs came from. So she and Jubilee snuck into Grandma Nutt's chicken coop…hid behind some straw, stayed very still… and observed the miracle."

Jane spent hours reading about animals, insects, habitats and nature.  Even as a young girl, she kept notebooks of sketches and notes of what she observed in her backyard.

She read intensely about Africa and dreamed about going there someday to study and help the  the animals.  We all know that her dreams came true. Thank goodness!  

This book is a good starting off point to further discuss Jane Goodall’s incredible contributions to  science and to the world. It is worth pointing out to students that she is still alive and still promoting nature and environmental work with her Roots and Shoots program (see below).

Another favorite line:
“It was a magical world full of joy and wonder and Jane felt very much a part of it.”

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text
Book Genre: Biography (Easy picturebook)
Reading Workshop strategies: Fluency, Inferring, Questioning, Summarizing
Writing Workshop genre: Narrative Writing, Biography
Grammar: Sentence fluency
Curricular Themes: Famous People, Inspirational People

More about Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program:

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