Sunday, April 01, 2007
'Fancy Nancy,' by Jane O'Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
March 12, 2006
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES Book Review by EMILY JENKINS
Jane O'Connor, who wrote the "Nina, Nina Ballerina" stories, teams with the illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser in "Fancy Nancy."
It's the story of a ball of fire who is always dressed to the nines. Glasser's action-filled pen-and-ink drawings put Nancy in wild tutus, ruby slippers, fairy wings and fuzzy slippers: this heroine is never demure, never subtle and probably never quiet.
She has redecorated her bedroom with feather boas, Christmas lights, paper flowers and showy hats. Her doll is named Marabelle Lavinia Chandelier. So enterprising is she in her pursuit of fanciness that she offers lessons to her plainly dressed family. They attend, taking notes, and Nancy helps dress them in bows, ornaments, top hats and gaudy scarves. "Ooo-la-la!" Nancy cries in delight. "My family is posh! That's a fancy word for fancy."
The message here is welcome — fanciness (unlike physical beauty) is available to anyone with a can-do spirit — and the writing is adorable. Nancy's joy is infectious, and her over-the-top elegant vocabulary pays off in a warm twist. The story ends with the family's simple declarations of love: "All I say back is, 'I love you,' " Nancy says. "Because there isn't a fancy — or better — way of saying that."