I read a review of the new book, Fancy Nancy Spectacular Spectacles by Jane O’Connor on Amblyopia Kids a few weeks ago. Based on that review, and Zoe’s love of her Fancy Nancy shoes, I figured I should get a copy for her. We got the book on Friday, and we’ve read it at least once every day since then.
For those that haven’t seen any other Fancy Nancy books (there’s quite a few of them now), the Fancy Nancy character is a young girl who loves all things fancy, and that includes accessories, clothing, and even words.
In the story of Spectacular Spectacles, Nancy’s friend Bree gets glasses because “in school, her eyes hurt a lot.” Unlike a lot of kids’ books about glasses that focus on the difficulties that go along with getting glasses, this book focuses on how much Fancy Nancy loves her friend’s glasses, and how much she’d like to have some, too. They are after all, lavender, glittery, and come with a silver case and a silk hankie to clean them. It was quite nice to read a book where the character who wears the glasses doesn’t encounter any taunting or teasing, and the glasses are portrayed as something wonderful. I also loved that there is a scene where the character Bree explains to her class about her trip to the eye doctor and getting glasses. I think that our kids in glasses need to be able to talk about what those glasses mean, and Bree’s explanation is quite charming:
Bree had to read a chart with lots of letters on it. The letters went from big to tiny. “Glasses are like magic. I can read tiny stuff now,” she says. “Nothing looks blurry!”
When I first read Spectacular Spectacles (before reading it with Zoe – the book arrived while she was napping), I worried that Zoe would not relate much to the book. The main character isn’t the one getting glasses, and I don’t think Zoe even remembers getting glasses. But Zoe enjoyed it from the first time we read it, and has asked for it every night since then. Even more exciting for me, is that the last few nights, she’s stopped me in the middle of the book to talk more about her glasses. Before this, Zoe had never spoken much about her glasses or trips to the eye doctor, but now she’s starting talking about her most recent eye doctor trip, how the shapes on the chart were blurry, and that the “glasses place thought she needed new lenses for her glasses and now things aren’t blurry.” It feels like this book helped give her the words to explain what she had experienced.
Fancy Nancy Spectacular Spectacles is an I Can Read book, listed as a beginning level reader. Zoe is not yet reading, so I can’t comment on how easy it is for early readers to read, but it does have short, simple sentences. The book does feature several long “fancy” words, which are listed at the back of the book. I liked how those words, such as “spectacular” and “becoming” are used and explained in the story as well.
The illustrations are beautiful, and I found myself getting a bit jealous of Bree’s beautiful glasses. I would absolutely recommend this book, especially for young girls who might be worried about their friends’ reactions to getting glasses.