Fancy Nancy - The Picture Book That Started It All

Fancy Nancy - Picture Book Cover
Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor. HarperCollins

Who is Fancy Nancy and What Makes Her so Popular?

How did the Fancy Nancy phenomena start? It started with one picture book - Fancy Nancy - that became so popular, it led to lots of other Fancy Nancy books. Since the picture book Fancy Nancy was first published in 2005, the title character, a little girl who likes everything fancy, including words, has become enormously popular. In fact, after the success of Fancy Nancy, author Jane O'Connor not only has written numerous additional Fancy Nancy picture books, but she's also written Fancy Nancy books for beginning readers, a Fancy Nancy book of “fancy words,” a Nancy Clancy chapter book series for older fans and more.

What is it that makes the character Fancy Nancy so popular? The fact that Fancy Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy is enormously appealing to the kids (and their moms) who also love dressing up and enjoying the fancy life. Fancy Nancy is also very popular with teachers because of all of the "fancy words" she uses and explains. In addition, the Fancy Nancy stories are engaging and the illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser, with their bright and enthusiastic emphasis on all of the fancy aspects of Nancy's life, are very appealing.

Fancy Nancy, The Story

Readers of Fancy Nancy get an immediate view of what it means to be fancy since the first two double-page spreads show Fancy Nancy’s bedroom when it was very plain and after it was fancy. Wow, what a difference! Fancy Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy: clothes, accessories, decorations and furniture. She also loves fancy words.

Fancy Nancy’s parents and little sister are not at all fancy and they don’t always understand how important it is to be fancy, although Nancy is constantly telling them things like, “lace-trimmed socks do help me play soccer better.” However, they are a loving and accepting family. When Fancy Nancy offers lessons in learning to be fancy, they all attend.

When they attempt to dress up so as to look fancy, Nancy has to provide her family with fancy accessories because their own clothes are so plain. Once dressed up and in a fancy mood, they decide to eat out. Off they go to a local restaurant where their fancy attire and behavior makes them the center of attention. When an accident ruins their fun, Fancy Nancy is unhappy and ready to go home. Yet, she is quick to thank her parents for being fancy with her. Her parents’ willingness to go along with Fancy Nancy’s dreams of being part of a fancy family makes this story by Jane O'Connor particularly appealing.

My Recommendation

I recommend Fancy Nancy for three to six or eight year olds. The colorful exuberant illustrations, full of fancy details, by Robin Preiss Glasser add to the fun. You’ll find your child will enjoy the story again and again, each time finding something else in the illustrations to talk about and enjoy. (HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN: 9780060542092)

More Recommended Picture Books

Other picture books that I recommend for young children include: The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, with illustrations by Crockett Johnson; Harold and the Purple Crayon, written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson; The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd, by Dennis Haseley, with illustrations by Jim LaMarche and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kennedy, Elizabeth. "Fancy Nancy - The Picture Book That Started It All." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2016, Kennedy, Elizabeth. (2016, February 26). Fancy Nancy - The Picture Book That Started It All. Retrieved from Kennedy, Elizabeth. "Fancy Nancy - The Picture Book That Started It All." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 11, 2017).