That's Show Biz! Fancy Nancy: The Show Must Go On by Jane O'Connor
"Quiet, please," says Ms. Glass. "I have an announcement." (That means she has something important to tell us.) "The talent show is in a week."
"Yay!" Bree and I bump fists. We have our act planned out already.
Nancy has a fancy circus costume she's dying to wear, and she's even got a song about a daring girl on the flying trapeze to sing. Bree is down with the whole plan, and the girls think their act is already ready for prime time.
But Ms. Glass has other plans! She announces that she's assigning partners, and Nancy finds herself paired with Lionel, a retiring young man who doesn't show the least propensity for fanciness! Ms. Glass has the partners brainstorm (that's fancy for talk over ideas), but Lionel confesses he doesn't care for singing, dancing, or telling jokes. He does volunteer that he can wiggle his ears, crack his knuckles, and balance a spoon on his nose, but Nancy can't come up with an act to showcase those talents.
Back at home, her mother suggests that she get together with Lionel on Saturday and get to know him in order to figure out how they can work together on their project. Lionel's house turns out to be "almost a mansion." Ooh la la! And in Lionel's bedroom is his collection of lion figures, large and small. "I get it," says Nancy. "You like lions because your name is Lionel!" And when Lionel puts on his favorite life-sized lion mask, Nancy suddenly sees a way to work him into her circus act after all.
The skit, "Lady Lulubelle and the Man-Eating Lion," with Nancy in her sparkly circus costume, is a big success, and when the young actors go out for ice cream after the performance, Nancy learns another fancy act--Lionel teaches her to balance a spoon on her nose.
Jane O'Connor's latest in her early reader series, Fancy Nancy: The Show Must Go On (I Can Read Book 1) shows that our fancy girl can improvise spontaneously even when things don't go the way she plans. With a lively but carefully controlled vocabulary, this school story should join the previous titles (see my reviews here) in popularity with early independent readers for this appealing I-Can-Read series.