Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Review: Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor

Why I Love This Book:

Clearly I am not alone in my adoration for Fancy Nancy. But let me tell you why this book appeals to me so much anyway. You see, I am not at all fancy. It's not that I can't be or don't enjoy it sometimes, but it's not at the core of who I am. Practical is more like it. Boring, I know, but it's just the way I'm made.

Just take a look at the contents in my jewelry box- that says it all. A few earrings missing their better halves and a couple of reasonably cute bracelets. Oh yeah, and my wedding and engagement rings. My fingers never returned to their originally slender size after I became pregnant with my first child...eight years ago. One day I'll take the time to have the rings re-sized, but for now they are resting safely on my dresser. I am very happily married. No need to flaunt it to the world with a lot of bling, right?

This is not to say that I never tap into my fancy side. I have to dig deep to find it, admittedly, but there is a part of me that enjoys the occasional indulgence in stylish clothing & accessories. My closet is surprisingly stocked with a decent wardrobe from my days in the corporate world. Lots of great shoes, bags, blouses, skirts, pants..with good labels to boot. Not exactly high end designers, but a good suburban mall Ann Taylor collection.

When my husband and I do occasionally sneak out for a nice dinner, I can become almost unrecognizable. As my good friend Amy says, "You clean up good." Amazing what a difference it makes when sneakers and old jeans are replaced with a good pair of high boots, a skirt with a good cut, and a cute, form-fitting sweater. And who knows, maybe I even find a matching pair of earrings that I bought long ago and forgot about in the midst of everything else. A little lipstick, a good blow dry, and voila! I am Fancy Nancy for one night.

Book Summary/Review:

There are a multitude of wonderful children’s books, but only every so often does a book enjoy such wildly popular success that it leads to toy lines and sequels galore. Fancy Nancy is one of those books. It deserves a place on every little girl’s bookshelf. Even boys (perhaps secretly) enjoy this delightful story about a girl who appreciates the frilly things in life.

So what is it about Fancy Nancy that appeals to so many girls? Robin Preiss Glasser’s illustrations, first and foremost, capture the whimsical imagination of a girl with a grand collection of tutus and tiaras. And the colorful accessories- flowing boas, frou-frou hats, golden bangles and snazzy shoes- are aplenty in the pictures that invite little girls to dress up and join Fancy Nancy in her quest for everything extravagant.

The story itself, written by Jane O’Connor, is equally adorable down to the fancy font. Fancy Nancy appreciates the finer way saying her favorite color (fuchsia is the new purple), and understands that presentation is everything by serving sandwiches with frilly toothpicks.

Fancy Nancy also has a talent for turning everyday occurrences into chichi events, and she decides that her family needs to follow suit. After giving them a lesson on elegance and providing wardrobe consultation akin to a Hollywood stylist, Fancy Nancy and her family head out to The Kings Crown (a local pizza joint) with unparalleled pretense. Nancy is pleased with their performance, from calling one another “darling” and ordering “parfaits.”

Then the unthinkable happens. Tripping on her fanciness, Nancy suffers an embarrassing fall and her glamorous evening is ruined. She returns home with her family and to their unadorned ways, comforted by the love and warmth all the frills in the world cannot provide.

Little girls, especially those with a little bit of Fancy Nancy inside, will enjoy reading this book again and again. Send some fanciness to a sweet girl today from The Lollipop Book Club.

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