Have you ever wondered more about who Jane was in the movie Tarzan?
Where did she come from, and why did Jane think it was so important to come and study the gorillas in the movie? In The Watcher, a great biographical story about Jane Goodall’s life that’s written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter, we find out who Jane is, and how important it is to be patient for good things to come.
Who is Jane Goodall? Jane Goodall is a primatologist – someone who studies primates. We learn in The Watcher how Jane loved watching animals at a young age. At one point in the story she mentions how a bird made its nest on her bookshelf. Jane fell in love with Dr. Doolittle, who could talk to animals, and Tarzan, who lived in Africa with the apes. She dreamed of going to Africa to live with the apes and talk to animals.
After saving money, Jane sets sail on a boat across the ocean and meets Louis Leakey, a famous scientist. As luck would have it, Leakey was looking for someone to study chimpanzees. Jane set sail to Gombe to go live with chimps. Jane spent many months looking for chimps, quietly walking around the forest, and watching from mountain peaks, until one day the chimps came out for Jane. She watched them quietly, observing how they slept, how they hid from the rain, how they ate. David Greybeard was the first chimpanzee to warm up to Jane. Once he warmed up the other chimpanzees allowed Jane to come closer to them. Throughout the story we see how Jane was able to see all the things chimps were capable of doing and how they acted with each other.
If you can’t make it to Gombe to visit Jane Goodall’s Gombe research center, you can go visit Disneyworld. In the Animal Kingdom there is a carving of David Greybeard and a plaque honoring Jane by the Tree of Life.
Winter does an excellent job depicting Jane’s story, her love for chimpanzees, and keeping the sentence structure simple. Jeanette also illustrates the book using acrylic paint and pen. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and very detailed. It is almost like she made the illustrations to look childlike. The cover is very eye catching with Jane looking through binoculars and seeing a chimpanzee.
This is a perfect story for ages 4-8.
The topic and illustrations are captivating for the younger kids. This story does a great job of teaching kids to follow their passions, and how important it is to be patient! This is a wonderful story for teachers in primary elementary wanting to introduce biographies in the classroom.
If you want to learn more about Jane Goodall, another great story is called Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell. He also does a great job depicting Jane Goodall’s life using her own quotes, and her activism for chimpanzees and all animals.