Monday, March 29, 2010

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser is a book that I was anxious to check out from the curriculum lab and read. I had heard it is a huge hit with children, and I wanted to know why. Well, I can clearly see why many children have fallen in love with Fancy Nancy. However, I am not sure if this is entirely a good thing.
Fancy Nancy is a little girl who desires everything in her life to be fancy, elegant, and over the top. Her family doesn't have the same feelings about being fancy. Their clothes are not super sparkly, they do not over accessorize, and they certainly do not go around trying to make everything fancy. Therefore, Nancy thinks that her family needs lessons in being fancy. She offers to give them free fancy lessons. Well, of course her family chooses to hear what she has to say. They get "fancified". They accessorize their clothes, speak as though they are fancy, and decide to take their new personas out to dinner at "The Kings Crown" (which is a pizza parlor). It is clear that Nancy's family is doing this to make Nancy happy, and I think that this is great and I liked this element of the book. While at dinner, they talk about fancy things. They pretend they are French. They even order parfaits (fancy sundaes). However, the evening quickly comes to a halt when Nancy has an accident. She spills the parfaits all over the floor, so they quickly go home. Nancy removes all of her fancy accessories and appears to look like herself. When she goes downstairs, she realizes her family has made sundaes. She decides to thank them for being fancy for her and for the sundaes. She also tells them she loves them, and they tell her they love her. The author points out there is nothing better or fancier than saying "I love you". I thought this was a nice touch.
I have a small, small issue with Fancy Nancy. I feel as though it promotes the message that fancy is better. I know the author means for it to be cute and fun. In fact, I think it is for the most part. However, I think a little more of a "lesson" or realization that being fancy isn't everything would have been nice. Many children are unable to have fancy things, and this may make them feel a little left out while reading.
The pictures in this book were fantastic. They were so detailed. Everything was "fancy". It was clear that Robin Preiss Glasser, the illustrator, clearly understood the story that the author was telling. The colors were vibrant and the text was not typical and boring. It was fancy (haha).
I liked this book, and I am interested to read other Fancy Nancy books. I can see how many children (mostly young girls) would fall in love with Nancy and her adventures.

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