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Fancy Nancy and the Sensational Babysitter - Book Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published August 31st 2012

The Fancy Nancy series of picture books, written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glassner, are whimsical stories about a young girl named Nancy who enjoys the finer things in life. In this volume, Nancy and her sister are excited about their new babysitter, Alex. Nancy has an agenda for the evening ("that's like a list only fancier") involving dressing up and looking at fashion magazines but her hopes are dashed when she finds that her eagerly awaited babysitter is actually a boy. Fortunately Alex, who "can't help being a boy", is actually a lot of fun.

Fancy Nancy has her own style. She likes to wear tutus, tiaras, feather boas and other "fancy" things. While I generally despise books and TV shows that teach girls that life is all about looking pretty and shopping I quite like the Fancy Nancy series because there is a sense of innocence and whimsy there. These books are a far cry from Bratz and Barbie dolls. This is not a little girl dressing up to try and look sexy, but a little girl innocently playing with pretty things. She doesn't want to look pretty to impress men or boys. She wants to look pretty and be surrounded by pretty things just because she likes it that way. The way she improvises and creates her own outfits from whatever she can find is creative and charming.

Nancy is fond of all things French and likes to use "fancy" words such as "ensemble", "stupify" and "melancholy". Children are sure to enjoy the sophisticated vocabulary she introduces them to, which makes a change from some of the bland, simplified text in many children's books.

The series is aimed at children 5 and up but my three year old likes them so I suppose it depends on the individual child. If you enjoy this book you're in luck because there are more than forty books in the series plus toys, dress ups and a Nintendo DS game based on them.

Rated 8/10
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Why? For a fun, whimsical read
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