Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tinsel Time! Fancy Nancy-Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor



The repentent Scrooge would have approved of the way Fancy Nancy Clancy keeps Christmas. If anyone knows how to "make merry" at Yuletide, it's our favorite glitzy girl.

Author Jane O'Connor and illustrator Robin Glasser open their first Santa season story with the whole Clancy family, including Frenchy the dog, togged out in a Christmas tree toboggan and green and red striped leg warmers, hanging the outdoor lights, decorating the mailbox, and wrapping the entire house in a a bright red ribbon and bow.

Then it's off to Bruce's Spruces to take delivery of their tree. Nancy loves adorning their spruce with all the trimmings, including family heirlooms, ("that's fancy for old and very valuable"), ornaments from Grampa's childhood. And, of course, there has to be plenty of sparkle!

"You can't have too much tinsel!" Nancy says.

Nancy throws herself into Christmas Eve fun, wrapping gifts, making cookies with sprinkles, singing carols for Mrs. DeVine and her posh pet papillon, setting out treats for Santa, and all her other family traditions. But the most difficult custom requires waiting for Grampa to arrive to help trim their tree. With all her savings, Nancy had bought an elegant tree topper back in late summer, and she has been waiting so long to see it adorning the tip of her Christmas tree. And what is keeping Grampa? Nancy paces. She and her sister peer out the darkening windows. Finally, Nancy postulates a miniscule change from custom.

We pleaded with our parents. (Pleading is like begging, only fancier.)

"Please, please, pretty PLEASE! Can we just put up the tree topper NOW?"

And with no foreshadowing of the coming disaster, Mom and Dad relent. Nancy is overjoyed with the way her treetop decor looks. "Ooh La La! Everything it says on the box is true! It spins. It flashes on and off and changes color!" she exults.

Excited, Nancy decides to give her dog Frenchy her gift right then. But a tug-of-war ensues when Frenchy gets her teeth into the stretchy pull toy, and she falls backward into the tree. The brand-new topper smashes into pieces.

"I am devastated, which is upset, only a zillion times worse."

Grampa arrives just then at the scene of the disaster, but he has some wise advice:

"When life gives you cracked eggs, make eggnog!" he says.

And soon Grampa, Nancy, and her little sister are "improvising," a fancy word for being creative--making a new ornament for the tree top from whatever materials they have, and seeing it atop the tree, Nancy is very pleased with their product.

"It's going to be an heirloom," Nancy explains to her little sister.


Author Jane O'Connor slips a powerful little lesson in handling unforeseen crises into the latest in her best-selling picture book series, Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas, and Robin Preiss Glaser's splendiferous illustrations are sparkling and exultant--everything that a Christmasy Fancy Nancy should be. This one should come with the tag "OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS!"

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