Good news for fans of Fancy Nancy who have outgrown picture books: Nancy has grown up a bit, too. Now well into elementary school, with adventures to match, she’s entertaining young readers in a series of charming chapter books. This week, Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser — the writer and illustrator team behind the Nancy books — present the sixth in this series, Nancy Clancy: Soccer Mania. With kids around here starting back to school in recent weeks, this book couldn’t come at a better time.
Youngsters feeling a little apprehensive about starting a new sport or activity this fall are the perfect audience. Want to join the dance squad but aren’t so sure of your steps? Give it a shot! Thinking of trying out volleyball? Go for it! The empowering message that it can be fun to try something new is balanced with realism; you can have a good time even if you don’t score 20 points in your first game. A few tips we can learn from Nancy Clancy’s first season of soccer:
Find a friend on the team.
Nancy has several, including her pal Bree, who comes over to help get her psyched up for the games. Appealing to Nancy’s love of all things fancy, Bree brings nail polish in team colors. (Hey, whatever works.) Teams are a great opportunity to make new friends, too. And don’t forget to communicate with your teammates, Glasser says, about everything from your playing tactics to what you need emotionally. “Don’t assume they know what’s going on in your head.”
Remember that the other team are people, too.
“A team means this is not just about you,” Glasser says, which is why you’ve got to be thoughtful of both your teammates and your opponents. Nancy’s ready to help her team, the Green Goblins, take on the Hornets when word comes in that the Hornets are down a player. Nancy is none too pleased when she draws the short straw and has to go play for the Hornets. “Think about it,” Nancy’s dad (and coach) tells her, “How would you feel if it was the other way around?” Her team practices positive cheers, too — no take-downs of the other players.
You might accidentally pass the ball to someone on the other team — or even kick it into the wrong goal. (Remember when it happened during the World Cup?) Fixing mistakes may mean you need to ask for help. “Listen to other people’s ideas earnestly (which is a fancy word for ‘seriously’),” Glasser says.
Expect the unexpected.
Uh-oh . . . bees on the soccer field? Be ready to run! Glasser says paying attention means, “being involved with your mind, body, and heart.”
Set reasonable goals.
Nancy knows she’s no star athlete yet, but she’s ready to learn. Her goal for the season? To go from total beginner to mediocre — a fancy word for “average.” Will she make it? You’ll have to read to find out!
Glasser’s final word of advice? “Enjoy the game — if you do, your friends will, too.”
illustrator of the brand-new chapter book
Catch up with Nancy Clancy’s other adventures:
By Robin Preiss Glasser (Illustrator)