By Jane O’Connor, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser


Published by: HarperCollins (April 3, 2012)

Available in: paperback, hardcover, audible book, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were four books in the Fancy Nancy chapter book series.


Glitter and gloss.

Even in black and white, Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth seems to sparkle. It’s probably just a conditioned response to the hugely popular (and pervasive) Fancy Nancy brand. This is a good thing—it will draw young girls who love the character but have outgrown picture books into the brand’s chapter books.

From a writing perspective I don’t love this work. It is as expected: predictable and leans too heavily on the Nancy Drew brand, who’s current popularity is, I think, based more on nostalgia than quality or contemporary flavor.

But I do like much of the dialogue and story progression. It has the sweet feel of a child talking to herself during imaginary playtime. That’s authentic. There are also notable treatments of stealing, accidental actions and the consequences of each. So there’s some weight to this glitz, and that brings it’s own kind of bling.

Much of the action is centered on a mystery, complete with all the key ingredients a detective needs: secret codes the reader can break, a jeweled magnifying glass, disappearing ink and fingerprints. There’s also a trusty sidekick and über cool play clothes.

Nancy Clancy is escapist reading for the pink and sparkly set, and there’s no mystery why girls love it. They just do. Without thinking it through too much, this is one chapter book that hits that sweet spot.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

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