Monday, April 09, 2012

Unendearing Shearing: Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don'ts by Jane O'Connor

"Do not forget," Ms. Glass reminds us.

"Tomorrow is Picture Day.

I also have a surprise."

Fancy Nancy Clancy, of course, needs no reminder of that day. The date on her calendar has been circled in stars for months. Her outfit (fancy for clothes) has been ready for ages--ruffled shirt, ruffled skirt, and even ruffled socks. There's only one item of fashion left to consider--the all-important hairstyle for the big day.

Nancy knows that her hair is one of her best assets:

"My hair is curly, so I can wear it in many flattering ways.

(Flattering is fancy for pretty.)

Nancy runs through her options--pigtails, a bun with fetching tendrils, long and loose. How to choose?

When in doubt, any girl knows to consult with her BFF. Bree reports that her mom has just done her hair in braids with special colored beads, and Nancy is inspired.

"Oh, how elegant," I tell her.

(Elegant is fancy for fancy.)

Nancy decides that beaded braids are the way to go, but mom is busy, and although Dad gives it a valiant try, his results are less than elegant!

Then Nancy has an inspiration all her own. She's been reading a biography of Amelia Earhart, and that adventurous aviatrix's windblown bob seems tres chic! All Nancy needs to do is make a few strategic snips on her hair, and "Ooh la la!" Right?

Uh, no! Nancy is about to learn a valuable life lesson.

"Trimming hair is very complicated! (Complicated is the opposite of easy.)

I can't go to school tomorrow. I look horrible!"

Mom tries to comfort Nancy (that's fancy for making me feel better) with a few strategic snips, but she nixes the idea of skipping school for a bad hair day, so Nancy shows up at school the next day, her fancy outfit on but her head covered with an unbecoming scarf. The long-awaited event looks like it's going to be memorable all right--a disaster of a Picture Day. The usually self-confident Nancy is up against a serious blow to her ego. For once she doesn't look fancy at all. She just plain looks weird.

Jane O'Connor moves fearlessly into the major crises of primary graders--bullying, as in Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (I Can Read Book 1) and major embarrassment (barfing on the field trip bus) in Fancy Nancy at the Museum (I Can Read Book 1),-- and in her recent Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don'ts (I Can Read Book 1) (Harper, 2011) O'Connor has the admirable Ms. Glass come through again with her promised surprise--matching caps reading "Ms. Glass's Stars" for everyone to wear in the photo--giving Nancy's self-image (and chopped locks) some cover and a chance to regrow some hair before the next public photo op. Inexpensive, engaging for the beginning reader to tackle, slipping in vocabulary lessons (with an appended glossary of Nancy's Fancy Words introduced in the text)--these little books are pretty fancy themselves.

Pair this one with that other hilarious fictional treatise on that rite de passage of early childhood--the self-inflicted haircut, Junie B. Jones Is a Beauty Shop Guy (Junie B. Jones, No. 11), for further insight into the perils of self-snipping.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home