Fancy Nancy is one of the most popular franchises in children’s publishing. She’s a favorite of children and adults alike, and is a perfect fit for library programming. Since the original Fancy Nancy was published in 2005, author Jane O’Connor has published more than 50 books in the series, ranging from traditional picture books and I Can Read’s to a new series of detective chapter books. Fancy Nancy has even had her own Broadway musical, and yes, there’s a Hollywood movie in the works!
To celebrate Fancy Nancy at our library, I planned a special “tea party.” Children were invited to come with their favorite adult for an afternoon of everything fancy. Our event was timed for the release of the newest Fancy Nancy picture book, Fancy Nancy and the Fanciest Doll in the Universe. We printed tickets for the party, and families were asked to sign up in advance. Attendance was limited to 50 guests, based on the capacity of our meeting room. Funds for refreshments, decorations, and art activities were provided through our Friends of the Library group.
To prepare for the event, we created a “fancy” atmosphere in our meeting room by hanging streamers as well as pastel colored butcher paper decorated with large butterflies. When guests arrived, they received Fancy Nancy name tags (downloaded from the Harper Collins activity kits available on-line) and chose their own feather boa to wear at the party and take home. Sparkly bow ties were available for the small group of boys who attended. Volunteers wearing tiaras ushered children to specially decorated tables complete with Fancy Nancy flower arrangements and tablecloths. Guests created their own foam tiara decorated with jewels and stickers. Fancy Nancy coloring sheets and crayons were also provided. Boys received gold crowns to decorate instead of the tiara. During this time, children could pose for pictures with a 3-foot tall giant wall decal of Fancy Nancy herself mounted on a piece of white foam core.
After art activities were completed, I offered a French lesson with a hand-out of French words and phrases, along with translations and phonetic pronunciation guides. The Fancy Nancy books are peppered with French words and phrases, since Nancy considers French to be very fancy! The French words were explained and all the guests practiced the phrases.
The children were then ushered from to a storytime rug to hear Fancy Nancy and the Fanciest Doll in the Universe. During the story, volunteers cleared the tables so that we could proceed to refreshments after the story. Guests were offered their choice of assorted pastries as well as strawberry and grape fruit kabobs. The food table had been specially decorated with a Fancy Nancy doll, balloons, and other stuffed toys and decorations which fit the theme. Instead of tea, we served lemonade in plastic champagne glasses in keeping with the “fancy” theme. Guests enjoyed classical music during the refreshments.
This program proved so popular that we scheduled a second party for a month later, to accommodate the more than 40 people who were on the waiting list. I hope to offer this party on an annual basis, since I anticipate Fancy Nancy’s popularity continuing in the coming years.
Have you had a Fancy Nancy event at your library? Please share your ideas for celebrating Fancy Nancy in the comments below.
Our guest blogger today is Margo Tanenbaum. Margo recently began a new career at the Hacienda Heights Library (County of Los Angeles Public Library) as a children’s librarian after stints as a college fundraiser, children’s photographer, and children’s bookseller. Some of her favorite authors are Jon Scieszka, Mo Willems, and Swedish mystery writer Henning Mankell. She particularly enjoys reader’s advisory and planning library programs based on popular children’s characters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Yes, in April 2011, I had a Fancy Nancy “tea” party in Orange, NJ, for girls and an adult, starting with the publisher’s online name tags and some of the activity ideas. I brought in a fancy glass punch bowl and punch glasses from home and made a special fruit punch recipe that includes tea as an ingredient. We had dress up clothes (heels, boas, jewelry, purses, hats, capes, and various accessories as a “Fancy” girl might enjoy) for photo opportunities. We owned only a few Fancy Nancy books. Since our party was in National Poetry Month, I read Fancy Nancy, Poet Extraordinaire! I had each one either write her own poem or choose one to copy and print it nicely in special gold, silver, pink, or fuchsia pens. They really enjoyed participating when I let the girls vote on which of the Fancy Nancy books we didn’t have yet that we should order for the library, as our budget was extremely low, and we could not even afford 1 of each. They enjoyed hearing the descriptions and voting for which ones they would like to add. We purchased the top two right away. We also had a display of other books that the children might enjoy if they liked Fancy Nancy,as I always like to promote checkouts at our programs and events. (The Pinkalicious, series a close second for checkouts afterwards). Princess Grace, by Mary Hoffman,
the Olivia series, by Ian Falconer, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes, the
Angelina (ballerina series), by Katharine Holabird — those are the ones I remember particularly. It was fun.
Fancy Nancy parties have always been a hit in the libraries I’ve worked in too. Might be fun to combine with http://www.overdrive.com/big-library-read/ if your library is participating & your community is interested in e-books.