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If there’s one thing Alyson Hannigan loves, it’s a good reason to include her kids in her work — and as a mother of two, her most recent gig just might be her favorite one to date.
Best known for making us laugh on the hit series How I Met Your Mother, the actress will now be lending her voice to the brand-new Disney Junior show, Fancy Nancy. Based on the bestselling children’s books, the animated series follows the adventures of 6-year old Nancy Clancey as she turns ordinary moments into extraordinary celebrations.
Along with her best friend Bree and her little sister JoJo, Nancy finds a way to add a splash of fancy to everyday life, and she has a sophisticated vocabulary to match. Helping her playfully dance through life is her mom Claire, voiced by Hannigan.
The project is a particularly special one for the actress, whose two daughters fell in love with the Fancy Nancy books long before the television series was ever developed.
“My oldest daughter got her first book on her second birthday,” Hannigan tells Babble. “It was immediately the favorite book. I’m so happy to be a part of this [show]. It’s just as good, if not better, than the books.”
Nancy’s unique way of describing the world inspired Hannigan’s girls so much, they began seeking out a larger vocabulary and absorbing new words with the same enthusiasm as their beloved protagonist.
“They love finding out the meanings behind big words, and they’re not afraid to use them, which is awesome,” she says. “And they’re not afraid to ask what words mean when they hear them.”
Disney Junior plans to continue on with this lovable tradition, having Nancy share a handful of new expressions during each episode. There are also other heartwarming additions to the show, such as original songs that will make any kid want to jump up and dance, and a new line of adorable dolls and accessories — including the My Friend Fancy Nancy™ doll by JAKKS Pacific, available at Walmart in August.
Hannigan is thrilled to be a part of a project that will delight young viewers just as much as it educates them.
“[Nancy’s] joy and zest for life are infectious,” she tells Babble. “As a mom, this is the show I want my kids watching.”
The actress also loves embodying Claire, who is the kind of mother Hannigan aims to be in her real life. Whether it’s helping Nancy host the tea party of her dreams or building a fort made of marshmallows with daughter JoJo, Claire always teaches her children to be unique expressions of themselves.
“I love how she parents these girls,” Hannigan shares. “She’s not at all trying to rein them in because it’s easier for her. She’s a full-time mom and this is her full-time job, so she’s in it and going to help both these kids express themselves, celebrating their differences and their passions.”
This kind of positive parenting comes in handy in one particular episode, when Nancy becomes curious about a butterfly she’s been caring for all day. Instead of simply responding to her daughter’s questions, Claire encourages her to discover the answer for herself.
“It’s so wonderful that they captured the moment of letting the kids figure it out,” she says. “It’s such a small moment, but for me it was so big.”
Hannigan has always been a fan of teaching her daughters to think for themselves and embrace who they truly are, something that has only deepened with a role model like Nancy in their lives. The mom believes this enchanting 6-year old has the potential to spark the imaginations of every child who encounters her journey.
“It’s the differences that are so beautiful in all of us,” she says. “And that’s what we have to look for and appreciate. [Nancy’s] not doing it for anyone but herself, which I love. But, she’s not a show off. It really is just that this is her personality [and her] expressing herself … it’s just [about] expressing who your inner self is and wants to be.”
Since the series has already been renewed for a second season before it has even debuted, you can expect a whole lot more of Nancy — and we can’t wait to join the fun!
Fancy Nancy premieres on July 13th on Disney Junior.