Fancying Up the Family Tree: Fancy Nancy: My Family History by Jane O'Connor
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR ANCESTORS? THEY ARE PEOPLE IN YOUR FAMILY WHO LIVED LONG AGO.
YOU SAY IT LIKE THIS: ANN-sess-terz.
ISN'T THAT A GREAT FANCY WORD?
Nancy is psyched by the idea of working on her family genealogy. Her grandpa is thrilled to share family photos and what he remembers. Nancy has two questions right away:
WERE THEY FAMOUS? DID THEY HAVE ADVENTURES?
Classmates Bree and Robert present their reports first. Bree tells how her great-grandfather became a war hero. Robert reports that his great-grandmother is already 100 years old. Nancy is impressed--and stricken with a bit of ancestor envy.
Back home she designs a fancy cover for her report and then settles down to write up what Grandpa related about her great-grandfather.
"MY GREAT-GRANDPA WAS A BANK GUARD," SHE BEGINS.
HMMM. THAT DOESN'T SOUND EXCITING.
SO I ADDED SOMETHING.
"One day he stopped a bunch of bank robbers."
Confidently, Nancy waits for her turn to give her report, sitting smugly through Yoko's and Clare's family histories. I do not mean to brag, but mine is way more interesting, she thinks to herself.
Then Nancy learns that her proud grandpa is planning to come to school the next day just to hear her give her report about his own dad. Nancy has a sinking feeling that he is not going to like the literary license she has taken with the facts of his father's life. Was it fanciful exaggeration, or was it just plain lying?
Jane O'Connor's newest in her Fancy Nancy I-Can-Read series, Fancy Nancy: My Family History (I Can Read Book 1) (Harper, 2010), once more has Nancy learning the limits of her boundless creativity and desire to make life fancy. Nancy's mom gently but firmly makes clear the difference between fiction and fact, and Nancy rewrites the report, this time sticking to the plain truth, retelling the sweet (and suddenly relevant) story of the time her great-grandfather as a boy confessed that he had broken his mother's favorite teapot. "It's an ordinary story. But I really like it," Nancy confesses.
Ted Enik sits in well for the noted illustrator of the picture book series, Robin Preiss Glasser, with drawings which match Glasser's cozy detail and those warm family settings which make a visit with the Clancy family (and ancestors) always a treat for the beginning reader. As always, a glossary of Nancy's Favorite Words is appended for review of the special vocabulary introduced in the text.