Jane (Dick and Jane) “Just” Jane (who ever heard her surname?) is the sister half of “Dick and Jane” in the iconic children's reading educational series by William Gray and Zerna Sharp, used in American schools from the 1930s through the 1970s. Those of us of a certain age are forever united by our acquaintance with Jane and her family in Anytown, U.S.A. – Dick, Sally, Mother Father, Spot and Puff. See them run. See them play. See them commit unbelievably (unconscious) insensitive sins against a society that might not be Protestant, middle class, Western European based, and utterly bland. Well, to be completely fair, black and other ethnically based characters did appear in the 1960s. Jane is indistinguishable from the rest of her family except insofar as she is a younger female than her mother, and an older one than her sister. But one thing our Jane did have – she had “Fun”! All the time. Running and playing, seeing and doing. Fun. Fun with Dick. Fun with Spot. Strange to say, with all that fun, there was no funny. Ah well, different times…
Jane Bennett from (Pride and Prejudice) Jane is the eldest of the five Bennet sisters in Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”. Alas, she is so ego-less as to be almost a cipher. She is described as beautiful, sweet, proper, good, gentle, kind, dutiful, non-judgmental and self-effacing. Yikes. Unlike Elizabeth, who is all fire and tang, Jane is the “good daughter”, destined to be the “good wife” and, no doubt, the “good mother”. What a fate! Well, someone has to do it. She must not be as deadly as all that, however, for Elizabeth is devoted to her and aspires to attain her level of virtue. Charles Bingley, a rich, male version of Jane, loves her dearly as well, and marries her. So, good on Jane. We’re afraid, however, that it will always be the Elizabeths and Darcys who hold our attention.
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre) Jane Eyre is the heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s classic of the same name, first published in 1847 under the pen name of Currer Bell. Readapted into equally classic films and television series, Jane is an enduring and much loved character in literature. Jane is a passionate and intelligent young woman born into straitened circumstances, who makes her way in a difficult world by self-application, honor and dignity. Becoming governess to the socially superior Mr. Rochester’s young charge, Adele, Jane finds herself caught between strong forces that threaten her to the core, yet she perseveres and wins the day, albeit at great cost to herself and with much sacrifice. Jane Eyre is the type of character who meets what life presents to her with a firm and steady gaze, and who tackles her fate with a courage and self-reliance that foreshadow many a lesser feminist heroine of a later date. The Gothic overtones of the novel well enhance the less-than-fairy-tale-ending, in which Jane and Rochester are reunited in legal and sanctified marriage, having endured much in the way of personal suffering and loss.
Jane Porter (Tarzan and the Apes) Jane is Tarzan’s lady-love in the hugely successful series of 24 books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, starting with “Tarzan of the Apes” in 1912. The series has been adapted into countless plays, movies, comics, television series, cartoons and games. Jane is first presented as the classic damsel-in-distress, an American woman who has come to Africa with her professor father, whereupon she gets ambushed by apes and is rescued by Tarzan. Later Jane must be rescued by Tarzan again – in a forest fire in Wisconsin, no less! Over the course of her appearances, she evolves into a very competent woman who is well-matched as Tarzan’s mate and rugged enough to bear his child in a very rustic Africa. She may take a back seat to the Ape-man most of the time, but we’d say, with those credentials, cut her some slack.
Miss Jane Marple (The Murder at the Vicarage) Miss Jane Marple is Agatha Christie’s marvelous creation, the English-countryside, elderly spinster-sleuth, who first appeared in a short story in 1926 called “The Tuesday Night Club”, and in a full-length novel in 1930, The Murder at the Vicarage. She was featured in over a dozen more Christie novels and short stories and has become a beloved icon as well by way of feature films and television series. Jane Marple is an intelligent woman, beloved in the (surprisingly crime-riddled) village of St. Mary Mead, whose shrewd observations always find the murderer out, no matter how the “proper authorities” may scoff at her methods. Jane Marple is apparently a woman of independent means; although she runs a modest household, she does employ help. She is a clear-eyed assessor of human nature, and no “little-old-lady” viewpoints get in her way! She is also just a teeny bit of a busy-body, poking her genteel nose in where it is not always wanted, but always with successful results, uncovering the guilty and exonerating the innocent. We should all be so lucky as to be so employed in our seventies!
Baby Jane - a song by Rod Stewart
Crazy Jane on God - a song by Van Morrison
Hazey Jane - a song by Nick Drake
Jane - a song by The Barenaked Ladies
Jane - a song by Jefferson Starship
Jane - a son by Stevie Nicks
Jane Says - a song by Jane's Addiction
Lady Jane - a song by The Rolling Stones
Queen Jane Approximately - a song by Bob Dylan
Song That Jane Likes - a song by the Dave Matthews Band
Songs About Jane - an album by Maroon 5
Sweet Baby Jane - a song by U2
Sweet Jane - a song by The Velvet Underground
The Diary of Jane - a song by Breaking Benjamin
Boston Jane: An Adventure (Jennifer L. Holm) - 1855. The unknown wilds of the Pacific Northwest—a land not yet tamed, and certainly not fitting for a proper young lady! Yet that’s just where Miss Jane Peck finds herself. After a tumultuous childhood on the wrong side of Philadelphia high society, Jane is trying to put aside her reckless ways and be accepted as a proper young lady. And so when handsome William Baldt proposes, she joyfully accepts and prepares to join him in a world away from her home in Washington Territory. But Miss Hepplewhite’ s straitlaced finishing school was hardly preparation for the treacherous months at sea it takes to get there, the haunting loss she’ll face on the way, or the colorful characters and crude life that await her on the frontier. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Calamity Jane: Lucky Luke 8 (R. Goscinny) - Calamity Jane saves Lucky Luke from a delicate situation. A friendship is quickly formed, and they arrive together in El Plomo... where Calamity Jane proves by her manners and her strength that she's not a weak woman: She acquires the local saloon by winning an arm-wrestling match! Its ex-owner, August Oyster, is hopping mad and has only one obsession: to send her packing. During this time, Lucky Luke tries to clear up a dark affair involving arms traffic. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Five Children and It (E. Nesbit) - The last thing Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother expect to find while digging in the sand is a Psammead—an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the fivesome doesn’t realize all of the trouble that wishes can cause. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Fun with Dick and Jane (Not Available) - Parents will love revisiting a fond part of their childhoods when they share these classic Dick and Jane readers with their children. With charmingly innocent exploits and simple, repetitive declarations, these beloved characters helped entire generations work, play, look, see—and learn! And now they’re available for a whole new generation to enjoy. “Look, Jane,” said Dick. “Here is something funny. Can you guess what it is?” There are many books in this series. Recommended for ages 3-7.
Jane & Mizmow (Matthew S. Armstrong) - Jane loves to read books. Mizmow loves to eat them. Mizmow loves to climb trees. Jane would rather keep her feet on the ground. It’s not always easy being friends with a monster. But Jane’s best friend is Mizmow, and Mizmow’s best friend is Jane. Recommended for ages 3-6.
Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy (Dennis Brindell Fradin) - Most people know Jane Addams (1860-1935) as the force behind Hull House, one of the first settlement houses in the United States. She was also an ardent suffragist and civil rights activist, co-founding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union. But it was her work as a pacifist that put her in the international spotlight. Although many people labeled her “unpatriotic” for her pacifist activities, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 and, at the time of her death, Jane Addams was one of the most respected and admired women in the world. In this well-researched and inspiring account, acclaimed husband-and-wife team, Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin, draw upon hundreds of historical documents and archival photographs to create a revealing portrait of the woman whose very way of life made her an American icon. Recommended for ages 10-14.
Jane and the Dragon (Martin Baynton) - A feisty heroine who’d rather joust than sew seeks out her own adventures in these magical fairy tales for today’s young readers. Jane longs to be a knight, but everyone laughs at her. Everyone, that is, except the court jester, who lends her a small suit of armor to help make her dream come true. And when an enormous dragon swoops in and steals the prince, Jane quickly gets the chance to prove herself! If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out Jane and the Magician and Three’s a Crowd also by the same author. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - Part of the “Step into Classics” series by adapter Jane E. Gerver. Orphaned at an early age, Jane Eyre, leads a lonely life until she finds a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There she meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester and sees a ghostly woman who roams the halls at night. What is the sinister secret that threatens Jane and her new found happiness? Step into Classics(TM) adaptations feature easy-to-read texts, big type, and short chapters that are ideal for reluctant readers and kids not yet ready to tackle original classics. Recommended for ages 7-10.
Mary Poppins (P. L. Travers) - From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. This classic series tells the story of the world's most beloved nanny, who brings enchantment and excitement with her everywhere she goes. Featuring the charming original cover art by Mary Shepard, these new editions are sure to delight readers of all ages. It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life! Recommended for ages 8-12.
Me . . . Jane (Patrick McDonnell) - In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true. Recommended for ages 4-8.
See Jane Win for Girls: A Smart Girl's Guide to Success (Sylvia B. Rimm) - In the 1990s, child psychologist Sylvia Rimm and her daughters—Sara, a research psychologist, and Ilonna, a pediatric oncology researcher—surveyed more than 1,000 satisfied, successful women. Their goal was to “identify the essential childhood elements that encouraged these women to achieve fulfilling careers” so other parents could give their daughters the same advantages. Their results and advice were published in See Jane Win®, which became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller. See Jane Win® teaches parents how to help their daughters. See Jane Win® for Girls teaches daughters how to help themselves. Dr. Rimm gives girls the “I Can” tips and tools they need to be confident, capable, eager to learn, and ready to lead. Recommended for all mothers of daughters.
The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps (Jeanette Winter) - Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter's many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Jane - Lady Jane Grey (briefly Queen of England); Jane Austen (novelist); Jane Goodall (primatologist); Jane Seymour (actress); Jane Seymour (wife of King Henry VIII); Jane Addams (suffragist and Nobel Peace Prize winner); Jane Fonda (actress); Jane Curtin (comic/actress); Jane Russell (actress); Jane Kaczmarek (actress); Jane Wyman (actress); Jane Krakowski (actress); Jane Leeves (actress); Calamity Jane (frontierswoman); Jane Pauley (TV journalist)
Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Jane - Jim Carrey (comic actor); Arthur Miller (playwright); Charlie Chaplin (filmmaking comic genius); Henry Fonda (actor); Thomas Jefferson (U.S. President)