Extraordinary Jane

Extraordinary Jane

5.0 4
by Hannah E. Harrison
     
 

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For anyone with a beloved pet, this delightful and heartwarming story set at the circus shows that quiet qualities like friendship, kindness, and loyalty are important and worthy.
 
Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn't strong, graceful, or brave like her family. When she tries to be those things, Jane just

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Overview

For anyone with a beloved pet, this delightful and heartwarming story set at the circus shows that quiet qualities like friendship, kindness, and loyalty are important and worthy.
 
Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn't strong, graceful, or brave like her family. When she tries to be those things, Jane just doesn't feel like herself, but she also doesn't feel special. Is she really meant for this kind of life? Her Ringmaster thinks so, but not for the reasons Jane believes.
 
Ordinary can be extraordinary!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/27/2014
"Jane was ordinary, in a world that was extraordinary," opens Harrison's picture book about a shaggy, dewy-eyed white dog. It's no understatement: tiny Jane is shown in the corner of a three-ring circus while monkeys play brass, a beret-wearing elephant paints a portrait, and a bear rides a bicycle across a tightrope. Jane doesn't even stack up within her own family. "She wasn't graceful like her mother," Harrison writes, as the elder dog stands ballerina-perfect atop a galloping horse while wearing a frilly pink dress and crown of roses. She isn't "mighty like her father," either—he can lift an elephant, but a bucket labeled "elephant poop" is all Jane can manage. This is an exceptionally polished first book. Harrison's acrylic paintings, which blend realistic animal portraits with a charmingly old-fashioned circus setting to very funny effect, are the star of the show, but her understated storytelling and pacing are equally on the mark. Jane's under-the-radar helpfulness and all-around sweetness confirm the story's closing sentiment that being "a really good dog" is something extraordinary in itself. Ages 3–5. Agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award for Illustration 

• "This is an exceptionally polished first book. Harrison's acrylic paintings, which blend realistic animal portraits with a charmingly old-fashioned circus setting to very funny effect, are the star of the show, but her understated storytelling and pacing are equally on the mark." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

• "A touching, delectably illustrated circus story that applauds the underdog." —Kirkus, starred review

• "In a world full of competition for kids to be the fastest, smartest, and best at everything, this story's message is a worthy one."  —School Library Journal, starred review

School Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
PreS-Gr 1—Jane is an ordinary dog, which under normal circumstances shouldn't be cause for much angst. But as part of a circus troupe in which all of the other members of her family are extraordinarily graceful, strong, or brave, she feels the need to find her special talent. Unfortunately, she's afraid of heights, is not all that artistic, "and then there was that whole balancing ball disaster." Readers will notice that the ringmaster has a soft spot in his heart for Jane and understand how he could be perfectly content with her being "a really good dog." Harrison's detailed and expressive illustrations give the circus animals plenty of personality and lend an air of grandeur to their talents. The pages depicting Jane's disaster-prone circus tricks and the resulting emergency room visit are particularly funny. In a world full of competition for kids to be the fastest, smartest, and best at everything, this story's message is a worthy one. Jane is exceptionally good at being herself, and for that, she is loved.—Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-24
Jane may not be the strongest or most fearless performer in the Barnaby Beluchi Circus, but she's a really good dog. In this sparely written read-aloud, the pictures tell the story. Jane cowers in a corner, paws over eyes, while her six brothers are shot out of cannons. She scratches a possible flea while her ballerina mother dances atop a galloping horse. Not daring, not graceful, "Jane was just Jane." Youngsters will relate to the fear of not living up to the expectations of others…but they will also recognize how treasured the loving puppy is: Adoration shines from the eyes of her dear friend the ringmaster. Harrison's expressive, beautifully rendered acrylic-on-board paintings effectively capture Jane's quiet role in the exciting, extravagant world of the big top. The colorful compositions are all the more striking due to the crisp white backgrounds and dramatically varied perspectives, from the dizzying high wire to circus ring–level, where Jane accidentally plows down her fellow performers with a giant red balancing ball. Small moments steal the show here, both heartrendingly cute ones, like the ringmaster toweling Jane off after her bath, and funny ones, such as the contrast of Jane's blob painting of the ringmaster with the artistic elephant's more refined portrait. A touching, delectably illustrated circus story that applauds the underdog. (Picture book. 3-5)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803739147
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/06/2014
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
187,114
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Extraordinary Jane

• " This is an exceptionally polished first book. Harrison's acrylic paintings, which blend realistic animal portraits with a charmingly old-fashioned circus setting to very funny effect, are the star of the show, but her understated storytelling and pacing are equally on the mark.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
 

• “A touching, delectably illustrated circus story that applauds the underdog.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

• “ In a world full of competition for kids to be the fastest, smartest, and best at everything, this story’s message is a worthy one. “ - SLJ, starred review

Meet the Author

Hannah E. Harrison is an award-winning painter, specializing in animal subjects, and this is the first picture book she has written and illustrated. She majored in Art and minored in Creative Writing at Colby College in the pursuit of becoming a children's book author/illustrator. She interned for illustrator Kevin Hawkes, with whom she learned about painting in acrylics. Hannah grew up in New Hampshire, and now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and daughter.

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