On a recent library trip, my nine-year-old stocked up on Fancy Nancy books, written by Jane O’Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
Fancy Nancy delights the girly-girl in my daughter – and I enjoy her so much more than the popular princesses.
Nancy is not perfectly coiffed; she is not a developing young woman. She is a little girl who just loves being as fancy as she can. She uses big words like “glamorous” and “fantastic,” which the reader discovers are fancy words for “fancy.” In the first book, she works hard to help her family dress fancy and then they all jauntily walk into the local burger joint. Of course a small disaster befalls Nancy, but she learns she can still be fancy after she’s made a mistake.
The Fancy Nancy books clearly illustrated the close relationship between an author and an illustrator. As a writer, I enjoy the characters O’Connor created for these books, the sweet innocence of the words and the story. But Nancy could not be fancy without the illustrator. Fancy Nancy comes alive when drawn by Glasser – her room, her “fancy” clothes and hairdos, her family (especially after having been ‘fancified’ by Nancy). Glasser wonderfully captures her innocent childhood joys, and devastating mistakes in every illustration.
Girly-girls will love all the Fancy Nancy books. And if you’re a mom, aunt or grandmother who prefers jeans and t-shirts to skirts, leopard print and accessories, perhaps Fancy Nancy will help you understand your daughter, niece or granddaughter who can wear jeans only if they glitter or have flower appliques.
In addition to the lovely picture books (Fancy Nancy; Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy; and more titles too numerous to mention), you can also find Fancy Nancy in the easy reader section with a whole collection of “I Can Read It” books. Fabulous!