Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

" Great introduction of Jane Austen to younger readers. The illustrations were absolutely perfect for a book about Jane Austen. The text certainly captured the essence of the life of Jane Austen, and the timeline and information about her books at the end added more details. All in all, I think Jane Austen would be pleased. " said.

" A lovely introduction to Jane Austen and her works. I think young writers, especially girls, will appreciate Jane's persistence and desire to write about the world around her. My former students were always interested in different details from the past, they'd have been really intrigued by the idea that Jane's books where published with an author list of "a lady" rather than her actual name. The illustrations are quite charming and fitting for the subject as well. " said.

" Jane was just an ordinary girl. In her time she didn't have much outside schooling but her father's library contained five hundred books and she devoured as many as she could. With a house full of boys and a family that loved to dance and read aloud, she began to write her own stories. During her lifetime six of her novels were published simply "by a lady." Two hundred years later her books are still being read. An inspiring charming story. " said.

"Thank goodness the talented Deborah Hopkinson is a Jane Austen fan, for she has produced a picture-book biography of the legendary authoress that is well deserved of a spot in any Janeite's personal library. It certainly sparked my always-flickering-love of Austen's written word and worlds.

Although the information is nothing new to an Austen enthusiast, the presentation is charming. Qin Leng's billowy illustrations cast a glow on the genteel, long-ago era, when life was simpler, yes, but also limiting to women who dreamed of more from life than playing cards and marrying. "But Jane was a writer who didn't give up." How refreshing that her spinsterhood wasn't belabored, rather her grit to forge an unlikely path. Indeed, that is the heroine our young girls should have the pleasure to emulate.

In this humble reader's opinion, Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen is a book universally acknowledged to be a delight for young and old alike.
" said.

"I loved how Hopkinson adapted the first line from Pride and Prejudice for the first line of this children's biography: "It is a truth uniersally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers." Qin Leng's ink and watercolor paintings reminded me strongly of Tricia Tusa's artwork. This is a short, but interesting biography. The back matter includes "Jane's Bookshelf" which lists her 6 novels in publication order, with 2 quotes from each book, and a short synopsis of the plot. Several internet sites are listed as well as a short bibliography. " said.

"This could easily be read aloud to young students (grades k-3). Hopkinson, the author, talks to the reader as if you are sitting right next to her getting to know Jane Austen like she did as she engaged in research. "In fact, if you'd met Jane when she was a girl, you might not have noticed her at all."

What struck me as I read this was how easy it would be to discuss with children the bigger ideas in the story. One is that Jane's observations of every day life (including a house full of "boisterous brothers") became part of the stories she wrote. Another is how the role of "story" was an important part of or thread through her life--she loved reading, her father read aloud to her siblings and her, the family turned their old barn into a theater, as a young girl she began to scribble stories, and so forth. Students could easily look back through the story and think about how Hopkinson develops these ideas. We could also pose questions like, "How do you feel when you hear or read a good story?" and "Why might this feeling move you to want to read or hear more stories or even write stories?" Teachers could easily use this book as a way to launch students into studying the everyday world around them and begin to jot notes that might lead into stories.

Even if students are not familiar with Jane Austen, this story will still resonate with them. Jane, an ordinary child, observed ordinary things and turned them into extraordinary stories as she became an extraordinary author. Lots of classroom potential.

Don't skip author's extras at the end. For older students, there's a timeline as well as notes and quotes from each of her books. The quotes (like "Nothing every fatigues me but doing what I do not like") would be great to pose for student-led discussions and tie back to the idea of the ordinary being extraordinary.
" said.

"This picture book biography of Jane Austen is charming in every way. Lovely illustrations complement the setting and the subject. Jane's life story is told in simple, concise language that highlights her achievements and the challenges she faced to achieve them, but also the simple pleasures and strong relationships that made her life enjoyable. The book also includes at the end a historical timeline of Jane's life, as well as a list of her major novels with publication dates, famous quotations, and a brief summary (and more charming art). Reading the timelines reminded me afresh how much Jane's own life informed her stories, from sibling relationships to retirement in Bath to the loss of family members, and the resulting financial insecurity for female dependents of the deceased. All of which is achieved in a light tone that befits the art and Jane's own writing.
An utterly enjoyable book worth sharing with the children in your life. And art almost worth decorating one's home with. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.
" said.

" A beautiful picture book introduction to Jane Austen. The soft watercolor illustrations are just perfect, and the text does a great job at capturing the magic of this favorite author. " said.

July 2018 New Book:

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