Saturday, February 23, 2019

Review - Fancy Nancy: My Family History

Fancy Nancy: My Family History (Fancy Nancy)
by Jane O'Connor
illustrated by Ted Enik
Date: 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Nancy wants to do an interesting school report on her ancestor. (That's fancy for a family member who lived long ago.) But will she remember to stick to the plain truth?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Being interested in genealogy myself, I was looking forward to reading this book. I could really relate to Nancy and her wish for more interesting ancestors. After hearing about her friends' great-grandparents and their exciting lives, Nancy wishes that her own ancestors weren't so ordinary. So she starts to embellish her report. She plans to present it, too, until she finds out that her grandfather (from whom she got the information) is going to be coming to her class to watch. Then she has to confess to her mother that she "exaggerated" (her mother basically tells her that, no, she lied)... and a rewrite of the report is in order, complete with a story about lying found in her own family tree.

While I liked the story itself, I was driven to distraction by the definition of the word "ancestors". Technically, an ancestor is anyone who came before you in your direct line: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. But this book implies that only great-grandparents and beyond are ancestors, which leads to Nancy stating that all of her ancestors are dead! The next few pages have her going home to her parents (ancestors) and talking to her grandfather (also an ancestor), so that could potentially be confusing for kids.

Aside from that one terrible word definition, I liked this one. The pictures are cute, and I especially liked seeing Nancy's grandfather. (They wear similar slippers around the house!) The ending with Nancy realizing that she has something in common with her ancestors, who aren't so boring after all, is nice. This is another strong addition to the Fancy Nancy series... although I would address the issue with the word "ancestors" with kids so they're able to understand and use the word correctly.

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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