Meet Miss Fancy
A charming and significant story set prior to the Civil Rights Movement about a boy who finds a way to challenge segregation laws.Frank has always been obsessed with elephants. He loves their hosepipe trunks, tree stump feet, and swish-swish tails. So when Miss Fancy, the elephant, retires from the circus and moves two blocks from his house to Avondale Park, he's over the moon! Frank really wants to pet her. But Avondale Park is just for white people, so Frank is not allowed to see Miss Fancy. Frank is heartbroken but he doesn't give up: instead he makes a plan!Frank writes to the City Council so his church can host a picnic in the park, and he can finally meet Miss Fancy. All of his neighbors sign the letter, but when some protest, the picnic is cancelled and Frank is heartbroken all over again. Then Miss Fancy escapes the zoo, and it's up to Frank to find her before she gets hurt.

Meet Miss Fancy Details

TitleMeet Miss Fancy
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780399546686
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Historical, Historical Fiction, Animals

Meet Miss Fancy Review

  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    First sentence: Frank loved elephants. He loved drawing elephants and talking about elephants. He loved their hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails. But not once, not ever, had Frank seen a real elephant.Premise/plot: This picture book is set in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1913. It is loosely based on a true story. There was an elephant, Miss Fancy, whom schoolchildren helped to purchase from a circus for Avondale Park. Miss Fancy lived in her ne First sentence: Frank loved elephants. He loved drawing elephants and talking about elephants. He loved their hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails. But not once, not ever, had Frank seen a real elephant.Premise/plot: This picture book is set in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1913. It is loosely based on a true story. There was an elephant, Miss Fancy, whom schoolchildren helped to purchase from a circus for Avondale Park. Miss Fancy lived in her new home from 1913 to 1934. Birmingham, Alabama, as adult readers will no doubt know was segregated at that time--only whites were allowed. Frank, our fictional hero, is not allowed in the park nor allowed to visit Miss Fancy. But where there's a will, is there a way? My thoughts: I loved this one. First I just have to say that I love, love, love Frank. We're kindred spirits. I also love, love, love elephants. I love their hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears. Which brings me to the second thing I love: the writing or the narrative. What else did I love? The illustrations. The author's note. The fact that this is based on a real elephant and keepers. I found it a satisfying read. Frank did find his own way. In all honesty, I enjoyed it all.The book is a good example--in my humble opinion--of an author showing instead of telling.Text: 5 out of 5Illustrations: 5 out of 5Total: 10 out of 10
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  • Elizabeth☮
    January 1, 1970
    Frank loves elephants and he is ecstatic when the zoo in his hometown of Birmingham is going to get Miss Fancy, a beautiful elephant. But Frank is saddened when he realizes he cannot enter the zoo because he lives in a segregated South. Frank dreams of petting Miss Fancy and he does everything he can to get close to her. His chance finally comes when Miss Fancy breaks out of the zoo. This is based on a true story of an elephant at the zoo in Birmingham. She too escaped often and wreaked havoc.
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  • Sammy
    January 1, 1970
    Super cute picture book! I highly recommend.
  • Sandy Brehl
    January 1, 1970
    MEET MISS FANCY is written by Irene Latham (co-author or CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?) and illustrated by John Holyfield. The extensive author note in back clarifies that characters young Frank and his minister, Reverend Brooks, are fictional, but the time, place, segregated rules for park access, petition event, and denial are all historically correct. Even more impressively, the eponymous MISS FANCY was an actual circus elephant who was purchased through a school-based penny collection to become a r MEET MISS FANCY is written by Irene Latham (co-author or CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?) and illustrated by John Holyfield. The extensive author note in back clarifies that characters young Frank and his minister, Reverend Brooks, are fictional, but the time, place, segregated rules for park access, petition event, and denial are all historically correct. Even more impressively, the eponymous MISS FANCY was an actual circus elephant who was purchased through a school-based penny collection to become a resident of Avondale Park for twenty-one years. In this story Latham's colorful and figurative language (hosepipe trunk, flap-flap ears, and tree-stump feet) are perfectly paired with the images of lively character Frank and family/town members, representing life in a pre-WWI setting in the segregated south. The matter of fact sign on the park, NO COLORED ALLOWED, makes it clear that the previous scene of Frank's all-Black school is not accidental. His mother's fictional quotation no doubt mirrors often-repeated cautions by many voices to many young ears in those days: "Listen, Frank, I know it's not right, but it's the law, Change will take time."This lively, delightful, and animal-friendly story should appeal to any and all, but is another fine example of ways that "Black History" belongs in everyday classrooms, homes, and story times.Discussions may (and should) involve the reasons, racism, and injustice behind segregation policies, but will also gravitate to elephants and other fan-friendly animals (think hedgehogs, sloths, gorillas, and on and on.)Side note here, but a very significant part of the Author's Note to share: Miss Fancy resided in the park for twenty-one years, but then was sold to the Cole brothers-Clyde Beatty Circus. She toured with the circus for two years before being sold to the Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, New York, where she lived on until 1954. Animal rights also becomes a worthy topic, considering lives of elephants and other wild animals in circus touring, in zoos, and in sanctuaries, such as THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY in Tennessee. Webcam views of elephants in natural habitats can be accessed there.
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  • Jamie Switzer
    January 1, 1970
    Meet Miss Fancy is a piece of historical fiction that I am so glad I got the chance to read! Both the language and the illustrations were rich and beautiful. Set in Birmingham, Alabama in 1913, Frank helps to raise funds to get an elephant named Miss Fancy to relocate to his town park. Frank loves elephants and can hardly wait till Miss Fancy arrives. When she finally does, however, the "No Colored Allowed" sign on the park gate smashes his dreams of meeting and petting a real life elephant. Fra Meet Miss Fancy is a piece of historical fiction that I am so glad I got the chance to read! Both the language and the illustrations were rich and beautiful. Set in Birmingham, Alabama in 1913, Frank helps to raise funds to get an elephant named Miss Fancy to relocate to his town park. Frank loves elephants and can hardly wait till Miss Fancy arrives. When she finally does, however, the "No Colored Allowed" sign on the park gate smashes his dreams of meeting and petting a real life elephant. Frank becomes determined and creative and embarks on a campaign to organize a picnic at the park where all are welcome. After that attempt, something truly remarkable happens! While Frank and his family are fictional, Miss Fancy was a real life elephant who did live in Birmingham for twenty-one years, all of which during times of strict segregation in Alabama.A teacher could very effectively use this text throughout the middle and upper elementary years to introduce the genre of historical fiction to students. It is a wonderful example of weaving fiction into true events and making them more easily understood to a younger audience. Additionally, a teacher may use Frank's idea of writing a letter asking for change to introduce a unit on community action in a social studies class, and could even follow up with a project in which students write letters to members of their community about issues that are important to them. Finally, Meet Miss Fancy uses a considerable amount of well placed descriptive details and language. (Bodies sagged, feet trampled flowers and resembled tree trunks, and elephant skin was the shade of thunderclouds). This would be a great mentor text to introduce the writing trait of descriptive language/details and students could be prompted to identify the author's use of it and to chose their favorite example.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    What if you were a child, a young boy, and loved elephants more than anything? You loved to draw them and talk about them. You loved their "hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails." But, but, you've never ever seen a real elephant. This is a story about that boy, Frank, and his adventure with Miss Fancy, one elephant who spent some years in Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama. He is that boy who lived only two blocks from the park and helped c What if you were a child, a young boy, and loved elephants more than anything? You loved to draw them and talk about them. You loved their "hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails." But, but, you've never ever seen a real elephant. This is a story about that boy, Frank, and his adventure with Miss Fancy, one elephant who spent some years in Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama. He is that boy who lived only two blocks from the park and helped collect pennies with other schoolchildren so the city could raise the money to buy Miss Fancy from a circus. Wrapping her poignant story with some truth, this brand new wonderful book from Irene Latham shows the sad history of segregation years ago and the ingenuity of a young boy who only wanted to touch Miss Fancy. Finally, Frank got to see her when she came by train, but when the crowd arrived, with Miss Fancy, he walked with her all the way until he couldn't anymore. The sign said "No Colored Allowed". What if you were that boy, heartbroken? There is a reward for being that boy, and I hope you can read Irene's story in order to discover it. John Holyfield encompasses the words with his gorgeous realistic illustrations, filling the pages with color and emotion and detail of this community, its people and a special elephant. Irene adds an informative author's note about the story, the history and adds a real photo of Miss Fancy! The book will be a great start for children beginning to know the history of segregation.
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  • Mk Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Here's the Hook: Frank, an avid elephant lover, has never seen an elephant, and it feels like fate when one moves in just two blocks away! Unfortunately for Frank, the park where Miss Fancy lives proclaims "NO COLORED ALLOWED." Instead, Frank throws peanuts from afar and dreams of the day when he will be able to play with Miss Fancy like the white children do. Even with hard work, determination, and brains, is petting Miss Fancy in Frank's future, or is the question of crossing segregated lines Here's the Hook: Frank, an avid elephant lover, has never seen an elephant, and it feels like fate when one moves in just two blocks away! Unfortunately for Frank, the park where Miss Fancy lives proclaims "NO COLORED ALLOWED." Instead, Frank throws peanuts from afar and dreams of the day when he will be able to play with Miss Fancy like the white children do. Even with hard work, determination, and brains, is petting Miss Fancy in Frank's future, or is the question of crossing segregated lines too dangerous? Would be a good educational tool for opening up conversations with young kids about jim crow laws and segregation. Three words or phrases that best describe this book are:-Great artwork-A spunky elephant-Heartwarming
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  • Peacegal
    January 1, 1970
    MEET MISS FANCY is a segregation-era story about a young boy and his friendship with a very special elephant. Frank loves tossing Miss Fancy peanuts from over the park walls, but he cannot visit Miss Fancy because he is African American and the zoo in which she lives is "whites only." One day, Miss Fancy escapes, and suddenly it's up to Frank and his rapport with his elephant buddy to keep both her and the townspeople safe. The book ends on a wistful note, still maintaining the hope that things MEET MISS FANCY is a segregation-era story about a young boy and his friendship with a very special elephant. Frank loves tossing Miss Fancy peanuts from over the park walls, but he cannot visit Miss Fancy because he is African American and the zoo in which she lives is "whites only." One day, Miss Fancy escapes, and suddenly it's up to Frank and his rapport with his elephant buddy to keep both her and the townspeople safe. The book ends on a wistful note, still maintaining the hope that things will soon change. This story was inspired by true events. A section in the back shows the real Miss Fancy, and describes her travels and history.
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  • Joan Marie
    January 1, 1970
    This historical fiction picture book is based on a real character, an elephant named Miss Fancy that lived in the Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama from 1913-1934. It speaks of a time when segregation was occasionally trumped by kindness. Latham's lengthy author's note holds historical notes, adding depth to the story. John Holyfield's beautiful illustrations reveal deep emotion. A beautiful picture book.Love the opening lines..."FRANK LOVED ELEPHANTS. He loved drawing elephants and talking a This historical fiction picture book is based on a real character, an elephant named Miss Fancy that lived in the Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama from 1913-1934. It speaks of a time when segregation was occasionally trumped by kindness. Latham's lengthy author's note holds historical notes, adding depth to the story. John Holyfield's beautiful illustrations reveal deep emotion. A beautiful picture book.Love the opening lines..."FRANK LOVED ELEPHANTS. He loved drawing elephants and talking about elephants. He loved their hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-shish tails. But not once, not ever, had Frank seen a real elephant."
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    Set in pre-Civil Rights Alabama. Based on the true event of the elephant living in Avondale Park. Frank loves elephants and leads the penny collection at his school to raise money to bring Miss Fancy to their town park. Sadly, he's not allowed to see her as the sign is posted "No Colored Allowed." Discouraged but not defeated, he finds a way to climb the tree and still see her though. She breaks free and comes to visit one day. He uses a trail of peanuts to bring her back to the park. He gets a Set in pre-Civil Rights Alabama. Based on the true event of the elephant living in Avondale Park. Frank loves elephants and leads the penny collection at his school to raise money to bring Miss Fancy to their town park. Sadly, he's not allowed to see her as the sign is posted "No Colored Allowed." Discouraged but not defeated, he finds a way to climb the tree and still see her though. She breaks free and comes to visit one day. He uses a trail of peanuts to bring her back to the park. He gets a ride on the elephant and gets to assist in her care.Use to talk about race relations and history.
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  • Jessica Haider
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Birmingham, AL in the early 1900s, Meet Miss Fancy tells the story of Frank, a black boy who is fascinated by elephants. When the local park gets an elephant, Frank is excited to finally see an elephant in real life, except the park has signs saying "No Colored Allowed". Frank starts a petition to request that his church be allowed to hold a picnic in the park. Frank perseveres with his wish to meet Miss Fancy. This book led to some great discussion with my 5 year old about discrimination Set in Birmingham, AL in the early 1900s, Meet Miss Fancy tells the story of Frank, a black boy who is fascinated by elephants. When the local park gets an elephant, Frank is excited to finally see an elephant in real life, except the park has signs saying "No Colored Allowed". Frank starts a petition to request that his church be allowed to hold a picnic in the park. Frank perseveres with his wish to meet Miss Fancy. This book led to some great discussion with my 5 year old about discrimination and its history in America.
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  • Taylor Stewart
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored Irene's previous work and "Meet Miss Fancy" is no different. It is absolutely lovely to see a story featuring a small piece of magic from Birmingham's past while also highlighting the real truth of living in the Jim Crow South before the Civil Rights Movement. This story is heartwarming as we see our friend's passion for elephants and his dream to meet Miss Fancy of Avondale Park come to life.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful pictures - bright and colorful while weaving the realities of segregation in an age-appropriate way. The little boy's dedication and persistence is mirrored by the elephant, who keeps escaping from the zoo. It isn't explicitly in the text, which is also age-appropriate, but as a grownup I walked away so sad for this sweet elephant who spent so many years in various circuses or probably super lonely in that small town.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it - great illustrations and story telling about Fancy, an elephant that lived in Alabama through the 30's and the fictional story of a boy who desperately wanted to meet Fancy. Parts are based on history - Fancy really did exist, and an African American church really did petition to be able to hold a picnic on the grounds of the town park, but with draw the request after it's approval because of the controversy.
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  • Candice
    January 1, 1970
    “Hosepipe trunks and flap-flap ears to their tree-stump feet and swish-swish tails.”Alabama author, Irene Latham’s latest picture book MEET MISS FANCY, based on the elephant who lived in Birmingham’s Avondale Park from 1913 to 1934.Set during segregation, it follows a boy who tries his best to make a difference and realize his dreams of petting Miss Fancy. This book gently showed the kiddos how unfair people can be.
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  • Bonnie Grover
    January 1, 1970
    Based on a true history of Miss Fancy, who lived in Birmingham, AL. This book is set in the era of Jim Crow laws. This is not only a beautiful story from a historical perspective, it is also a story of perseverance, dreams, and possibilities. I will definitely use this book in my classroom. Thank you #BookPosse
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Fictional picture based on the real Miss Fancy the Elephant that lived for a bit at the park in Birmingham, Alabama. The main character, Frank, loves elephants, but the "No Colored Allowed" sign means that he can't visit Miss Fancy. Is it wrong that I hate to see smiling elephants when they are kept in captivity?
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    This fictionalized version of a true event is entertaining. It shows how racism and Jim Crow laws unjustly limited people's opportunities, but is ultimately not about the injustice, but about how an elephant-mad boy called Frank overcomes such obstacles to be with the town's elephant.
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  • Effie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. This is a part of Birmingham history that I was completely unfamiliar with. The writing is lovely and the illustrations in the book are lively with great expression and movement. Excellent.
  • Great Books
    January 1, 1970
    Frank battles the laws of segregation to meet a real elephant that he has been forced to love from afar. This excellent depiction of a young boy learning about racism, also demonstrates the power of determination.Reviewer #11
  • Nikki Glassley
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like it, but the book took a really "ah, what can ya do?" attitude towards segregation. Even the Author's Note hardly mentioned it. It's an interesting piece of Alabama history and the illustrations are fun, but I'd pass on this one.
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Illustrations were wonderful and the story was great.
  • Mary Lee
    January 1, 1970
    The real pain of segregation and the real fight (small and local) to end it. Plus...a spunky elephant!
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this story about Miss Fancy and Frank. It is a good choice for opening up discussions about segregation.
  • Jeff Corrigan
    January 1, 1970
    Although historical fiction, the story is based on a real elephant that lived in Alabama for several years at a park in the segregated South. Elephant lovers will be pleased.
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting story with beautiful illustrations. A great way to learn about this time in history through this story based on a real elephant.
  • Kimberly Wright Oelkers
    January 1, 1970
    Best Civil Rights themed picture book in a couple of years. I wish I was still teaching Civil Rights with 5th graders. They would love this story.
  • Miss Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    A moving elementary and up story about a town that has an elephant living in it and the racial discrimation of the time which keeps a yoiung black boy from getting to meet the elephant.
  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    A fun story based on a true event! This book could serve as a great discussion springboard about equality!
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Something fell a little flat with this one- might have been better structured as non-fiction? Recommended for historical fiction and elephant fans ages 4-6.
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