Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ocean of Calamine Lotion: Fancy Nancy, Poison Ivy Expert by Jane O'Connor

"Look, I'm picking a bouquet of wild flowers. ('Bouquet' is fancy for a bunch of flowers.)"

"Watch out for poison ivy," Mom keeps warning me.

"I am! I AM!" I say. "I know what poison ivy looks like. I'm practically a poison ivy EXPERT."

But Nancy is more of an expert on fancy vocabulary than she is on poison ivy, and soon she finds herself sprouting red bumps on her hands and face and itching all over every inch of herself. Her fancy bouquet goes to school with her friend Bree for her teacher, but Fancy Nancy finds herself missing Ms. G's surprise birthday party at school and perfectly miserable at home. ("Miserable is even worse than unhappy, and also much fancier!")

But her herbalist (fancy for plant expert) neighbor Mrs. DeVine comes up with a jewelweed salve which stops the itch, and Mom checks Nancy out a fascinating (fancy for interesting) library book on poison ivy with all the facts and fictions about the triple-leaved threat, making her a REAL expert.

Finally Nancy is well enough to go over to Bree's house, and Ooh La La, there's a surprise party, complete with cookies, punch, and dancing to the golden oldie Coasters' hit "Poison Ivy," all in her honor!

Jane O'Connor's just published I-Can-Read Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert (I Can Read Book 1) (HarperCollins, 2009) is just what the doctor ordered for emergent (level 1) readers who like their heroines on the sparkly side. As always, O'Connor appends a glossary of "Fancy Nancy's Fancy Words" to add to her readers' fascinating vocabularies.

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