cover image Just Plain Fancy

Just Plain Fancy

Patricia Polacco. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05884-0

Naomi and Ruth are sisters who live on a farm in Pennyslvania's Amish country, where people take pride in their uncomplicated lives. But Naomi complains that everything in her life--from her clothes to her chickens--is plain. The girl longs for ``something fancy.'' When she and Ruth find an unusual egg by the side of the road, they place it in their hen's nest, hoping it will hatch. It does, and the bird that emerges is obviously not a garden-variety chick. The sisters name it ``Fancy,'' and keep its existence a secret from the grownups, who they fear will shun it. On the day the elders of the community have gathered for a working bee, Fancy breaks out of the henhouse and spreads its feathers in front of the group. By this time perceptive young readers will have gathered that Fancy is a peacock--and Polacco's pictures reveal it to be a magnificent one at that. Naomi is praised for raising such a beautiful bird, and learns that some kinds of ``fancy'' are acceptable. Polacco's warm story and sensitive illustrations offer a fresh, balanced perspective on Amish life. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)