Young, Cebèle. Nancy Knows. Book Review.

Click here to buy Nancy Knows

This is an unusual hardcover picture book. On each page there is a black ink outline drawing of an elephant named Nancy. The inside of her body is filled with tiny items that pertain to the story.

It begins, “Nancy knows she’s forgotten something. Something important…” On each page Nancy considers items she may have forgotten. At the beginning her jumbled thoughts are portrayed by tiny paper, straw, and stick fragments. As her thoughts become classified, the pictures become clearer. Her body is filled with thoughts of things with wheels, clothes, places and colors. Some items are recognizable and some are abstract artistic creations.

Although this is a picture book with a simple story, the illustrations seem suited for school-age children to discuss. Younger children will be bewildered by the impressive but unusual paper creations.

This book lends itself well to a discussion on memory and thought processes. What kinds of strategies do we used to remember? How do we organize our thoughts? What can we learn from Nancy?

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages