For such a brief book, McDonnell has done a marvelous thing. He doesn't try to give us the entire life of Jane Goodall, just a glimpse at a child who was fascinated by animals and nature and Africa and how that lead to the adult she became. The art is perfect, incorporating Victorian animal illustrations, a sweet, almost cartoonish style, and memorabilia from Goodall. I expect the child who is like Goodall (albeit with pandas and China) will really love it.<br/><br/>Library copy.
There's a strong Sherlock influence here, and it reads a bit like Lockwood & co., and also Spiderwick. I enjoyed the plot which moves along briskly. For no very good reason, I decided early on that Jackaby was Matt Smith (his more clownlike moments as the Doctor), and Abigail is scrappy little Jenna Coleman. I loved the bizarre inhabitants of the house, and want someone to film this so I can see the house in 3-D. I managed to solve the mysteries pretty easily, but didn't mind. There are, however a number of anachronisms, and although the story is prominently set in a New England port town, it was never clear how big the city was supposed to be, nor did it in any way feel like New England, and because I am the sort of person who cares about these things (or anyway can't avoid noticing them) if Abigail is English, why does she write in American?
It might seem like a negative review, but I did quite enjoy it and I look forward to reading the rest. The nonsense about the ball gowns pulled me out, but I was enjoying the book so much I never thought of stopping.