“I’m not talking about Nancy Page, the gracious and lovely co-owner of Island Books. I mean that other Nancy, the one girls everywhere love and have admired through dozens of charming picture books. Fancy Nancy just graduated to chapters, and now she’s grown up into Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth.
There are more than 36 books in the Fancy Nancy series. Nancy gives celebs a run for the money with her over-the-top outfits and posh bedroom. She brings out the side of little girls that loves all things girly and attention-grabbing, from feather boas to high heels. So is she really cut out to be a detective? And will her audience believe in this change of character? Thus far, the consensus is yes. While the chapter book format isn’t nearly as extravagant, girls who grew up with the picture books are devouring Nancy Clancy and appreciating that there is now more to read about their favorite character.
One thing I’ve always liked about the Fancy Nancy books is the way they give parents the opportunity to teach kids bigger words. On the surface these are comedies with an outrageous protagonist, but underneath that, the books glamorize an enlarged vocabulary. Why use ‘disaster’ when you can use an elegant word like ‘fiasco?’ Or ‘purple’ when there’s ‘fuchsia?’
In all the Fancy Nancy books, the illustrations are a huge part of the magic. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, is a former ballerina. There are so many appealing details in the pictures and plenty for readers to discuss. I was worried that energy would be missing from the chapter book, but Glasser is involved in the new book too, and even if the pictures are black and white, the thoughtfulness is still there.
Nancy has been criticized for being self-absorbed, but at the end of the day, she’s a good kid and knows how to apologize when she’s wrong. She’s also industrious and self-reliant, which sets a good example for kids: If you want to be special, all you have to do is make the effort.”—Miriam, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA. This recommendation was originally featured on Island Books’ store journal, Message in a Bottle. Buy Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth from Island Books.