by Jane O'Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser
Fancy Nancy is an little girl who likes to dress fancy all of the time, and likes everything around her to be fancy too. As I don't really want my own girls to be girly in the "Oh, I broke a nail! Whatever shall I do?" sort of way, I'm not a huge fan of this series, but I also don't object when we check them out of the library. When we read them I just remind my girls that it can be fun to be fancy some of the time, especially when we go to church, but that we shouldn't get obsessed about how we look. Nancy is also pretty exuberant, which is something I want to encourage in my children, but there are moments where Nancy crosses over into "overly dramatic" which we will also point out to our girls. So that's a bit of a disclaimer for this recommendation: I love this title because it got my daughter trying to write poems – this can be a useful tool for parents trying to foster an appreciation for poetry in their children – but don't take this as an endorsement of the whole series.
Now the very best way to foster an appreciation for poetry is to read them good poems. But teaching them about the make-up of poetry is another good approach, and that's what this little book does. Fancy Nancy's class has set up a "poet-tree" where the children can put up their own poems. They've also been asked to canvass their friends and family to find out what their favorite poems are. We learn that nursery rhymes and song lyrics and limericks are all types of poetry.
Throughout the story Nancy is having some problems creating her own poem - she has a touch of writer's block - but it concludes with Nancy finally finding inspiration. She crafts an ode to her wonderful teacher.
Who would love this book? Girls anywhere from 5 to 10. My oldest daughter can't even write yet, but was inspired by this to create an acrostic poem of her own name (with a little help from her mom).
To get older girls, and boys too, interested in poetry, check out Love that Dog. It's a children's book intended for maybe 10 and up, but it got me, and a fellow adult poetry hater, to at least begin to appreciate poetry.
You can buy Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire at Amazon.com by clicking here.