Sunday, February 24, 2019

Review - Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don'ts

Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don'ts (Fancy Nancy)
by Jane O'Connor
illustrated by Ted Enik
Date: 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Picture Day is just about the most important day of the year, and Nancy has her outfit all figured out. That leaves only one thing—picking a hairstyle! Nancy considers the options. Pigtails? A bun? Long and loose? Then Nancy gets a brain wave, and she reaches for the scissors....

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's Picture Day! Nancy wants to find the perfect hairstyle for her curly red tresses so she looks extra fancy. She just so happens to be reading a book about Amelia Earheart at the time, and she thinks that a bob might be just the way to go. So she takes a little off the top and a little off the sides and a little off the front. But the haircut doesn't go according to plan, and Nancy declares that she couldn't possibly go to school. (Her mother quickly puts an end to that notion!)

I thought the story was cute, but readers should be aware of something that could be viewed as cultural appropriation. Before Nancy decides to cut her hair, she wants her hair braided in cornrows. In this case, I doubt she has any inkling of the implications of doing that as a white girl; she's just a six-year-old who wants her hair to be like her friend Bree's (Bree is black). I'm not sure how one would even explain this issue to a child that age, and I'm not even certain how much of a problem it is; Nancy's not about to Instagram her hair and claim she came up with the style. In any case, her dad turns out to be a terrible braider, so the cornrows don't happen.

I also had a little bit of an issue with one of the fancy words. I wouldn't say "complicated" is the "opposite of easy". That's "difficult". I think I'd probably define it as the "opposite of simple". (If books are going to be defining words for kids, I'd like those definitions to be fairly accurate.)

Overall, though, this is a cute story, and one that I'm sure has played out all over. Overzealous kids + scissors = a problem. But Nancy's teacher has a surprise that helps take a bit of the sting out of that bad haircut, and Nancy ends the book with the hope that she has fast-growing hair... which is really about all she can do. Patience, Nancy. It'll grow back.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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