I mentioned yesterday that I don't like Fancy Nancy books, so here's my reason why.
First of all, for those of you who aren't familiar with Fancy Nancy, she is a little girl (maybe about 6?) that loves to dress up and make things "fancy" (hence the name). I actually really like how the books are written as the author puts in big "fancy" words, and then explains them (e.g., she'll use the word "bouquet" and say that it's a fancy word for a bunch of a flowers). So they're good for expanding vocabulary (that's how Annika learned the word unique) and the stories are usually good too - usually Fancy Nancy learns a lesson in each one. And the illustrations are quite good as well - lots of vivid detail and color.
Here's what I don't like - the overall message that Annika has picked up from these books is that looks matter most. Fancy Nancy talks a lot about what is fancy and what is plain, and she wants everything to be fancy (because fancy is better). Annika loves dressing up and wearing nice clothes, so she immediately latched onto this concept. In fact, one day she even told me that she didn't like me, because I was wearing plain clothes. Not that she didn't like my clothes - she said she didn't like me. Yikes. I tried to explain to her that we shouldn't judge people on what they wear, and that that was not a very nice thing to say to someone, and there's much more to people than what they're wearing, etc. I'm hoping the message got through. Since then, we've put away the Fancy Nancy books and have stopped borrowing them from the library. I figure that she'll be bombarded with society's messages to look good, be thin, wear the right clothes, etc, soon enough - we don't need to be dealing with that kind of stuff already. She still likes to wear her fancy clothes (she wears skirts and dresses almost every day and wearing a pair of jeans is a punishment to her), and she'll often ask me "don't I look fancy?" I'll usually tell her, "yes, you look very nice", but try not to focus on it for too long. And I also try to tell her things like she's smart, creative, funny, silly, etc as well, to try to balance things out. We also talk about things like being a good friend, and why we like people and why people like us. Hopefully the message is getting through that although it is fun to be fancy and look nice, there's a lot more to people than just what's on the outside.