Polacco, Patricia. Just Plain Fancy. Illustrated by author. New York: A Bantam Little Rooster Book, c1990.
This story tells the tale of a little Amish girl who takes care of her chicken eggs and to her surprise one comes out more fancy than the others. Afraid that the elders will shun him, they hide the chicken, but he escapes. Patricia Polacco tells such strong multicultural stories. She uses her imagination in combination with things that have touched her life to make her stories come to. In Just Plain Fancy, she does an excellent job of not only letting listeners into the life of an Amish girl, but she also shows that it is okay to be who you are. The story revolves around a community, but it sticks to the facts. Whenever you see a Patricia Polacco book, you immediately know that it is one of her books. Her illustrations are so uniquely her own. She uses a combination of pentel markers, acrylic paint, pencils and oil pastels. The drawings in her stories are usually illustrations of the real people that the stories are about. Most of the pages are double page spreads, but a few are single pages with text on both. Her illustrations are simple, yet detailed and every line is done in a way to make it look realistic. Around the illustrations, white space is used and the text is written in the white space. Just Plain Fancy will help children see into another culture that isn’t their own and possibly connect with the young girl.
A note from Jade:
I absolutely LOVE Patricia Polacco. I will be reviewing more of her work later in the year, but I encourage you to take a look at her website if you haven’t done so already and look at the list of books she has written/illustrated. Go to the library and check as many as you can out! Every story is unique and distinctly its own. It will give you children and/or students a chance to maybe see the light shined on cultures that they didn’t know existed. You won’t be disappointed.