Pink Goes Green! Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day by Jane O'Connor
I DO NOT LIKE THE COLOR GREEN VERY MUCH.
YOU CAN TELL BY MY CRAYONS. THE GREEN ONE LOOKS ALMOST NEW.
BUT I ADORE BEING GREEN. (ADORE IS FANCY FOR REALLY, REALLY LOVING SOMETHING.)
Even though Nancy confesses no fondness for the color green, she takes to the Earth Day assignment like a duck to clear water. Earth Day "is like a holiday for the Earth!" she says, and Nancy is soon busy enforcing Ms. Glass's rules for going green at home with her own family.
1. LESS THAN A MILE? THE BIKE IS IN STYLE!
2. PLEASE TAKE NOTE! ALWAYS BRING A TOTE! (TOTE IS A FANCY WORD FOR A SHOPPING BAG.)
3. IT'S BETTER TO WEAR A SWEATER.
4. DON'T WASTE WATER. GET CLEAN BUT STAY GREEN.
Her fond family is familiar with Nancy's penchant for following her passions, shall we say, enthusiastically, and they cheerfully go along with her suggestions until Nancy's zeal causes a few problems. Finding her mom's computer left on, Nancy switches it off, only to find that her mother returns with a needed book to find that she has lost the document she was doing for work. Then, that night, Nancy sneaks back into her sleeping little sister's room to turn off her night light.
NOW SHE DOESN'T NEED THE LIGHT ON. I TIPTOE INTO HER ROOM AND TURN OFF HER LIGHT.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I WAKE UP. I HEAR MY SISTER CRYING.
Nancy bursts into tears of remorse when she realizes she is the cause of her sister's midnight fright. Naturally, Mom and Dad are not exactly happy to find both girls awake and crying in the wee hours of the night. In the morning they have a little talk with Nancy about making choices.
"IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE GREEN, AND WE WILL TRY HARDER.
BUT YOU MUST NOT BE SO BOSSY AND YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE."
And to mark their agreement on sustainable conservation, the Clancys celebrate that night with a special dinner, lit by candlelight and with cloth napkins on the table.
GUESS WHAT? GOING GREEN CAN BE VERY FANCY.
Jane O'Connor's newest I-Can-Read offering, Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day (I Can Read Book 1) (Harper, 2010) does a fine job as a first introduction to the concept of Earth Day and provides some simple precepts of conservation (such as turning off faucets and electronics when not in use), while also hammering home the need to be considerate of others' needs. Earth Day, once an welcome opportunity to talk about the need to curb pollution and conserve nonrenewable energy, has now turned into a thorny green thicket for writers for children, and O'Connor shows a bit of courage in taking on the subject. Although the author has already gotten some criticism for being "preachy" here, "waste not, want not" has always been good advice, and O'Connor has taken pains to have Nancy learn to be thoughtful of others' needs before making blanket pronouncements, good advice as well. This book, in keeping with its reading level, does not go into the complex details of environmental education, but makes a great early-grade jumping-off place for classroom activities built around the Earth Day observance.
As always, the illustrations, here done in Robin Preiss Glasser's signature style by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov, are delightfully detailed and appropriately fancy, and a glossary ("Fancy Nancy's Fancy Words") and a list of Ms. Glasser's tips for going green ("What Nancy Learned") is appended.