Parents' Guide to

Extraordinary Jane

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Dog gains self-acceptance in visually stunning circus story.

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There's a lot that's extraordinary about EXTRAORDINARY JANE. Though the book's a debut for author/illustrator Hannah E. Harrison, she clearly has command of the picture-book craft. The language, though spare, is exceedingly clever: "her music lacked musicality... her paintings pizzazz." Harrison's paintings, on the other hand, have plenty of pizzazz and exploit the visual possibilities of the circus. She first pictures the dizzying heights of the trapeze from below and then, terrifyingly, from above. There's also lots of turn-the-page fun -- for instance, a quick reference to "the whole balancing ball disaster" followed by a wordless spread of animals recuperating, banged-up in bandages. Also, the book opens with circus ballyhoo -- an inviting spread of colorful posters.

In the end, Jane proves her worth simply by being a sweet, furry, lovable pup who fetches the Ringmaster's hat and then sits up and begs. Young readers will warm both to Jane and her very extraordinary world.

Book Details

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