I believe I hold in my hands the 2011 Caldecott winner. The winner and honors will be announced in January, but this one, published in April 2011, has to be sitting at the top of the committee’s stack.
The artwork has a sepia feel. The colors are brown, yellow and green with a cream background. The art leads the little reader’s parents down memory lane while the child experiences a little girl who carries her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee, everywhere.
Parents will be amazed at the 19th and early 20th century engraving, while the child seeing the same images might lift his pretend arm to trumpet like the elephant or tell her father the time from a pocket watch stamp. Included on three pages of this easy book is artwork by the subject herself. Our subject has a very detailed eye.
Inspiration can be found in the pages, but readers will have different experiences. Moms and dads will dream of their child’s future. Because my child loves to play with Legos, she will become the next great architect. Our boy makes the best mud pies! He is destined to be the next Julian Childs. The child reader may not make the same connection when they see a woman touching a real chimp at the end of the book.
Laying on the cool grass and looking at the birds in the trees our main character, Jane, dreams. This small act is enough to send any child running outside to commune with nature, but Jane is also curious. She takes Jubilee to the barn where they discover the origins of chicken eggs.
Jane creates puzzles with animals as answers and she starts the first ever Aligator Society! She might have had more participants had she spelled the glorified animal correctly.
Little Jane reads and rereads books about Africa. She is especially enthralled by the Tarzan series. She climbs a tall Beech tree with Jubilee hanging around her neck. Once she reaches the top, the two sit on a limb and she pretends to swing through the jungle.
Have you guessed whom I am referring to? It is Jane Goodall!
Mark my words. Come January the committee will announce to the world that Me…Jane is the 2011 Caldecott winner. Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, producer of the syndicated strip MUTTS, will be thrilled with his award.