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Nancy Clancy: Secret Admirer



Super sleuths turn matchmakers in fun Valentine caper.

What parents need to know

Educational value

For Nancy Clancy, using fancy words is always fun, and all part of the adventure. Even French phrases are thrown in here and there. Also, this story takes a quick look at the biological heart versus the graphic heart we all draw for Valentine's Day and explores the literal versus the symbolic meaning of different sayings involving the heart, such as "being heartless." 

Positive messages

The girls learn that love is not always mushy and romantic. Having a friendship with someone is often the first step to finding "eternal love." They also learn that, though it is not always easy, you can always find something to appreciate about someone else. And, it feels good to all involved when you tell each other once in awhile. 

Positive role models

All characters treat each other with respect and appreciation regardless of age or relationship. Teachers and parents are firm but nurturing, the teenaged baby sitter and guitar teacher are thoughtful, fun and responsible, and the younger kids act thoughtfully and get along nicely. Though Nancy finds one particular classmate harder to like, she still does find something to appreciate about her. 


Nancy loves language, especially fancy words and French phrases.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this second of the Nancy Clancy chapter books is an uplifting, heartwarming, fun Valentine's Day read. It's not only filled with the usual Nancy Clancy verve and enthusiasm, along with fancy words and a few French phrases, but it also carries a refreshing message about learning to appreciate the people around you. Nancy lives in a sunny world of honest, caring people, so for the most part that is not a difficult task. Still, she seems like a real kid in a real world, and some of her classmates are harder to like than others. Young readers who have grown up with Fancy Nancy will enjoy reading these new adventures that take the spunky girl and her friends into upper primary grades. 

Kids say

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What's the story?

Valentine's Day is drawing near and romance is in the air. Super sleuth Nancy Clancy and her friend Bree have no mysteries to solve, so they use their detective talents to create one of their own. They try their hand at matchmaking, working to pair up Nancy's babysitter with her guitar teacher by leaving flowers and mysterious notes from a "secret admirer," hoping to draw them into a magical Valentine's date. Of course, using fancy words is all part of the deal. Along the way, the two girls learn a little about themselves, their own friendships, and that love sometimes has a mind of its own. /search/Jane%20O%27Connor

Is it any good?


Nancy Clancy and her friend Bree are the kind of exhuberant kids that make life fun, and happy. They are good-hearted, and creative enough to live on the edge of mischief but never step over the line. In their stories, author Jane O'Connor continues to emphasize that using fancy words is fun, dreaming of mystery and romance exciting, and developing strong friendships essential. And, Robin Glasser's sketched illustrations add even more life to the story. If that isn't enough, this NANCY CLANCY: SECRET ADMIRER is a terrific Valentine's Day book, especially for young readers beginning to enjoy chapter books. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the human heart, both the physical and emotional aspects, and talk about all the heart words Nancy found fascinating. Can a heart break? What does it mean to be kindhearted? Or heartless? 

  • How do the Nancy Clancy chapter books compare with the Fancy Nancy picture book series?

  • When Nancy and Bree try to create a romance between Annie and Andy, why does Nancy say "platonic" is the first fancy word she doesn't like?

Book details

Author:Jane O'Connor
Illustrator:Robin Preiss Glasser
Topics:Book characters, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:January 2, 2013
Number of pages:128
Publisher's recommended age(s):7 - 10
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Adult Written bycourtwork September 28, 2013


My 6 year old grabbed this book at our school book fair. Fancy Nancy is her absolute favorite so when we settled down to read, I was taken aback by the elements of scheming, plotting, and romanticizing of the babysitter and the guitar teacher. These are not concepts I'm eager to introduce to my first grader! I'm sorry to see Jane O'Connor succumb to the all too pervasive trend of introducing romance at earlier and earlier ages. This book quickly made its way into the donation pile. We'll be sticking with Fancy Nancy and skipping Nancy Clancy for the foreseeable future.
Parent of a 7 year old Written byCSM Screen name... May 19, 2014

Enjoyable, but some concerns

My 7 year old daughter really enjoys this series. However, it concerns me that Nancy and Bree make choices that I feel are risky in this day and age - leaving the house at night, for example, and accepting rides from a guitar teacher in this story. I needed to discuss why these weren't good choices with my daughter.