Do you know a little girl who would like to play dress up with Fancy Nancy? Based on the 2005 Jane O'Connor title that held the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for almost 100 weeks, this app is an exceptional offering for creative play. A very short story about a party little Nancy is attending is included, but the real highlight is the free-form dress-up playtime this app provides.
The app has a very nice set of directions under "How to Play". This explains that there are five slots to save images to, within the app. Each of these pictures can be created with lots of choices including different backgrounds, stamps of items to place around the scene and lots of dress-up clothes, shoes & accessories, or course. All of the images are richly detailed, based on Robin Preiss Glasser's gorgeous illustrations.
These five saved images become the illustrations for a five-page storybook where Nancy asks the reader to help her get ready for a party (which is a 'smashing success' in the end). This story book is a cute addition to the dress-up game, but by no means the main attraction for this app.
My only concern about this app is that each of the images created is sharable via Email, Facebook & Twitter links in-app and accessible on every page. I strongly recommend that parents set their device to disable these tempting links whenever a young child is using this app by themselves. You can do this most simply by going into the settings and selecting 'airplane mode'. This will still give access to email, to save a draft (but not send) and to save the child's creations as photos. I like the idea of children being able to share their artwork in theory, but opening up the possibility that they will send random emails, tweets, and posts to facebook is too much of a risk in my personal experience with my child.
Overall, though, this is an adorable app. It is solidly made with very intuitive settings that make it easy enough for a young child to enjoy on their own. It also takes dress-up play to another level, giving children a taste of the kind of creative storytelling that educators champion as a way to enhance learning. After some minor tweaks to your device's settings (or an update limiting these features by the developer), I whole-heartedly recommended this app.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Jane O'Connor/Robin Preiss Glasser
6 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
English • German •
My Fancy Fashion Story, 5 pages: Nancy says, "dress me up on each page" ... see her in the outfits she picked out or your own creations. After the first outfit, Nancy worries that maybe the party will be elegant, meaning she needs more accessories. Then, Nancy becomes concerned that she isn't fully prepared for the possibility of an outdoor party. The illustrations can be personalized (outer-wear might be a good choice). But if it's a princess party, Nancy will need another outfit entirely, decked out with her favorite tiaras and crowns. Lastly she picks her final outfit and declares the party 'a smashing success'.
More about Fancy Nancy:
Fancy Nancy is a 2005 children's picture book written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. While there are now more than 36 books in the Fancy Nancy series, selling over 16 million copies, this first book spent nearly 100 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Fancy Nancy has been on Publishers Weekly’s bestseller list for picture books, was a Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club selection and a Junior Library Guild Selection. It also won a "Borders 2006 Original Voices" award and has been translated into 17 languages, including Hungarian and Hebrew. Books in the series have now spent more than 250 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Fancy Nancy is a young girl with a larger than life personality, who adores all things fancy. She always dresses extravagantly, wearing boas, tutus, ruby slippers, fairy wings, and fuzzy slippers. Nancy loves using big fancy words such as "iridescent", "ecstatic", and "extraordinary" and anything in French. She has redecorated her bedroom with everyday items, such as feather boas, Christmas lights, paper flowers, and hats. Her favorite doll is named Marabelle Lavinia Chandelier. In Nancy's opinion, her family is ordinary and dresses rather plainly, so Nancy decides to hold a class in the art of fanciness for her family. They oblige, and Nancy helps to dress them in bows, ornaments, top hats, and gaudy scarves. "Ooo-la-la!" Nancy cries in delight. "My family is posh! That's a fancy word for fancy."
[Courtesy of Wikipedia]