Extraordinary Jane

by Hannah E Harrison (Author)

Extraordinary Jane
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
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!

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

"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.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

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

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Winner of the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award for Illustration

"Extraordinary Jane...burst[s] with color and magnificence." —The New York Times

* "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
Hannah E Harrison
Hannah Harrison is an award-winning illustrator of Extraordinary Jane and Bear Is Awake! She lives with her family in Oklahoma.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780803739147
Lexile Measure
180L
Guided Reading Level
J
Publisher
Dial Books
Publication date
February 20, 2014
Series
-
Oklahoma Book Award
Winner 2015 - 2015
Texas 2x2 Reading List
Recommended 2015 - 2015

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