Thursday, September 07, 2017

School Days! Fancy Nancy: Best Reading Buddies by Jane O'Connor

Violet is a fifth grader and very mature.

That means she acts grown-up.

The kids in Nancy's class have been assigned "reading buddies" in the upper grades, and Nancy is very happy with hers. For example, Violet wears cool, interesting outfits unlike any Nancy has ever known.

"I don't like to match," Violet says. "I like to look original."

Nancy is totally taken with her new mentor. Suddenly she's dressing in combinations she would formerly have disdained. She tries to explain her new sense of style, but her little sister JoJo is not really interested in cool clothes or the kind of books Nancy and Violet like to read together.

Violet and I like all the same books. "You're a great reader," Violet says.

"Merci," I say. That's French for "Thanks."

Nancy and Violet have a lot in common, including little sisters who get into a lot of mischief. They share photos of their families and funny stories about their sisters. Nancy can hardly wait for Mondays to roll around so that she and her reading buddy can read together. But then, things happen.

On the next Monday, Nancy wakes up with a cold, too sick to go to school. The following Monday is a field trip day for Violet's class, and the Monday after that, Nancy learns, is a school holiday. On that Monday Nancy mopes around in her pajamas, wishing that she were getting ready for school.

"Why do you look so sad?" Mom asked.

I started to explain about missing my reading buddy, but the phone rings. Mom answers it.

And it seems that Nancy is not the only one missing her Monday reading buddy, in Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy: Best Reading Buddies (I Can Read Level 1) (Harper, 2016), in a little beginning reader book that celebrates both reading and new friendships. Many schools pair young readers with middle reader buddies, and in Nancy's case, it's a chance to get to try out a new style and find a new friend. With his pleasingly pastel palette, Ted Enik's illustrations add much to this simple story of making friends and finding new books, just right for beginning independent readers.

Share this one with another read-aloud-worthy story of books and buddies, Bonny Becker's A Library Book for Bear (See review here).

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