The problem is the plots. In each volume, Nancy is Taught a Lesson. She must Learn Something, and not just anything. She must learn that there is something wrong with herself. She is too fancy, too stuck up, too concerned about frippery, and she must learn to be more like her dreadfully ordinary parents. Consider Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. Nancy, of course, wants a poodle, or even better a Bichon Frise. But her parents insist on a mutt from the shelter. Nancy is sad, but of course she learns to love her low class dog anyway. Or Bonjour Butterfly, in which Nancy and her best friend Bree, who both think butterflies are exquisite and speak to them in French, plan Bree's butterfly birthday party. But the dreaded parents insist that Nancy skip the birthday bash to go to her grandparents' 50th anniversary party. Nancy sulks and wails -- and who wouldn't? But she must be taught that Family Comes First, and that Grandparents With Long Marriages Are More Important Than Best Friends who Love Butterflies. Really:
Later on I whisper, "I'm sorry for the way I behaved. I am ecstatic to be here."Gag me.
The whole tone seems to be that it is not ok for Nancy to be herself. Or, at any rate, that she can only be herself in ways that don't matter. When it matters, she must do as she is told and cooperate with her parents' boring schemes. Conform! Obey! Stop prancing and listen to your betters! It grates on me because it is all built around not taking children seriously. Who cares what Nancy wants, she's just a little girl!
True, this is what life is really like for children; they are constantly being thwarted in their desires, often for their own good. But can't they at least have their own stories?