Tuesday, May 12, 2009

All That Glitters....: Fancy Nancy and the Dazzling Book Report by Jane O'Connor

Ms. Glass has thrilling news! Thrilling is even more exciting than exciting!)

We get to do a book report!

"Your first book report! How grown-up!" my mom says.

"I know," I say. "My book is a biography. It is about a real person--Sacajawea!"

Fancy Nancy is Ms. Glass's most enthusiastic student, one who throws herself into every lesson and activity with vim and verve, and her first real book report is no exception.

A girl with style, a girl whose sparkle rarely dims, Nancy's first thought is to designing the cover for her report. A quick trip to the art store gives her plenty of colorful and shiny materials to work with, and work she does, every night, illustrating and decorating her folder until it is a work of art.

There's just one problem. Nancy has a gorgeous folder--but no book report to put inside it. It's late on the night before the report is due, and Nancy realizes that there is a fatal flaw in her production schedule.

"I get out lined paper and a pen with a plume (that's fancy for feather.)

The trouble is, I am tired.

I know all about Sacajawea, but the right words won't come!

What am I going to do?"

Nancy only manages to come up with two sentences before she falls asleep over her unfinished book report. At school the next day everyone is wowed by her glamorous folder, but as the other students read their long, interesting reports, Nancy grows more and more nervous. At last it's her turn to present before the class.

"Sacajawea was a heroine. She helped people in trouble."

Everyone waits to hear more, but there is no more!

I am crestfallen. (That's fancy for sad and ashamed!)

Nancy has at last come up against the old dichotomy between glitz and substance. A sparkly cover portrait of a princessy Sacajawea doesn't do justice to the achievements of that brave and resourceful young Indian woman, and Nancy knows it. Luckily, Ms. Glass is a bit sympathetic, and with a glance that speaks volumes, permits Nancy to ad lib the rest of her book report this time.

Lesson learned. As Nancy puts it "Sacajawea was a heroine. Ms. Glass is a heroine, too. At least she is to me."

Jane O'Connor's bright and new beginning reader book, Fancy Nancy: The Dazzling Book Report (I Can Read Book 1), (HarperCollins, 2009) shows go-getter Fancy Nancy taking a second look at the way she does things, with a lesson in taking care of first things first that will serve her and all her young readers well. Ted Enik's illustrations stand in perfectly for Robin Gleisner's signature art in this I-Can-Read addition to Nancy's school adventures which will appeal to her youngest readers.

Other top-selling titles in the Fancy Nancy early readers series are Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris (I Can Read Book 1), Fancy Nancy at the Museum (I Can Read Book 1), Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert (I Can Read Book 1), and Fancy Nancy Sees Stars (I Can Read Book 1),--sparklers all!

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