Jane’s Blanket, is a children’s book written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Arthur Miller. Jane’s Blanket is one of seventeen books in the ‘Modern Masters Books for Children’ series written and illustrated by world famous authors and artists. The books were written for the novice reader under the consultation of Dr. Helen Murphy of Boston University, Dr. Nila Blanton Smith of New York University, and Dr. Robert Karlin of Southern Illinois University. The books’ illustrator is Al Parker, F.I.A.L, one of America’s leading magazine illustrators, and is a founder and faculty member of the Famous Artists School. The books’ publisher is Crowell-Collier Press Publishing Company, and is hardback, first print edition 1963. Jane’s Blanket contains a total of 430 vocabulary words, and it tells the story of Jane’s emotional attachment to her pink blanket from infancy to adolescence, when she is finally able to let the blanket go; both physically and emotionally. The book is sixty-four pages in length.
Jane was an only child, and ever since she could remember, there was her small pink, soft and warm blanket. As Jane crawled about her house, the small, pink, soft and warm blanket was draped across her back. Every morning she woke up in her nice warm baby’s crib, the first thing Jane reached for was her small, pink, soft, warm blanket. She caressed it as she nursed her bottle while being held in her mother’s arms. When Jane’s mother put her in her playpen, Jane would cry until her small, pink, soft and warm blanket lay among her toys; a teddy bear and doll. Then at night, when Jane’s dad would come home from work, he would play with Jane, until it was time for her supper, bath and bed. As Jane lay in her crib, she looked at the dark outside her window, but she wasn’t afraid as she clutched her small pink, soft and warm blanket in her hands.
As Jane got bigger and bigger, the blanket got smaller and smaller. Jane still asked her mother for the blanket at bedtime, even though the blanket was little more than an old tattered rag after so many washings. Then as Jane grew older, other things became more important to her; helping her mother cook a cake, riding her bicycle; she could even go to the corner store alone.
The old tattered pink blanket was forgotten, until one night Jane remembered her bata; the name she had given her blanket. Jane got out of bed, and went into the next room and asked her mother and father for her blanket. Her parents were surprised because she hadn’t asked the blanket for such a long time. Jane’s mother went to a drawer, took the blanket out and gave it to Jane. It was summertime, and Jane went to sleep to the sound of birds outside her open window; the remnants of her pink blanket at the foot of her bed.
Jane awoke the next morning, just in time to see a bluebird tearing a string from her blanket. Jane ran and called to her parents, “Come to my room! The bird is eating my bata!” Jane’s parents told her the bird would use the threads from her blanket to make a nest for its baby birds when they were born. When Jane realized the birds needed the blanket she had outgrown, she left her blanket on the window sill. Every day the blanket grew smaller and smaller, until at last there was only one long thread left. And then later that night, when Jane went to bed the last thread was gone. That night, Jane lay in bed thinking of the baby birds sleeping on her old pink blanket. Jane was glad the birds would be warm this night, and that she no longer needed her bata anymore. Jane then pulled her big yellow blanket over her, and went fast asleep.
When Jane saw that the baby birds needed her old blanket for warmth, and that she had outgrown it, she realized she didn’t need the little blanket anymore.
The book is a simple and beautiful story, illustrating a stage of emotional, mental and spiritual maturity. By letting go, Jane learned a lesson in overcoming selfishness and insecurity at an early age.
This book was brought to my attention by a poster in an open discussion forum. The poster stated that the book had made deep impression on her as a child, which drew my interest. I was very fortunate to get this first edition copy of ‘Jane’s Blanket’ at a very good price, because the seller had two copies. This book and the other sixteen books of the “Modern Masters Books for Children” series are collector items no longer in print.