Miss Alaineus

Miss Alaineus

3.8 6
by Debra Frasier

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When Sage's spelling and definition of a word reveal her misunderstanding of it to her classmates, she is at first embarrassed. Then she uses her mistake as inspiration for the vocabulary parade.  See more details below


When Sage's spelling and definition of a word reveal her misunderstanding of it to her classmates, she is at first embarrassed. Then she uses her mistake as inspiration for the vocabulary parade.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Frasier (On the Day You Were Born) goes back to school for this labored picture book about a girl's classroom gaffe. When Forest ("Forest is not a thicket of trees. Forest is a boy. A sick boy") coughs and sneezes "all over her desk and pencils," fifth-grader Sage catches a cold and must stay home from Webster School, missing Vocabulary Day. She phones her best friend to procure the week's word list, but misunderstands the last entry: she jots down "Miss Alaineus" instead of "miscellaneous." The error causes Sage big embarrassment when she returns to class, but her understanding mother helps her find the "gold" in her mistake. Frasier sticks closely to her theme, penning a wordy text riddled with vocabulary definitions ("I was devastated: wasted, ravaged"). This may amuse teachers but will likely wear thin on youngsters. And though the author believably captures Sages's feelings, a meandering story line slows the proceedings. The book's unusual design features purposely childlike but unappealing cut-paper collages composed of lined notebook paper colored with markers. A border on each page contains one hand-lettered line of Sage's extra-credit assignment, and an endnote scrapbook section offers suggestions for a school Vocabulary Parade. All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
From the author and illustrator of On the Day You Were Born comes very different fare indeed. Here is a fifth grade tour de force that wends its way from misunderstanding to hilarious consequence. When Sage ("one who shows wisdom, experience, judgment") falls sick, she misses the spelling list. In transcribing it over the phone, the kind of mistake is launched that grows to haunt incipient spellers with egos on trial. Sage and her spelling escapade will hit the spot with the intended middle grade audience. It is refreshing to see the limits of the picture book format continuing to be stretched, a la David Wisniewski, in this funny and loving tale. Endpapers feature a word-find puzzle. Through her web site (www.frasierbooks.com) the author also offers information about staging a Vocabulary Parade in your school and community. 2000, Harcourt Inc., Ages 8 to 12, $16.00. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
If you suspected that it might be impossible to find a picture book with a cute story about spelling, meet Miss Alaineus. This is a great story about a fifth grade girl whose big spelling mistake ends up turning to gold! Interestingly, the illustrations by the author were all created with common classroom materials. A fun, educational, and sure-to-please gift idea! 2000, Harcourt Brace & Company, $16.00. Ages 5 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This inventive picture book is a spelling book, a vocabulary book, a game book, and a costume book all rolled into one. Sage, a fifth grader who is home sick, phones a classmate to get her homework assignment. In a big hurry, Starr spells each word out except for the last one. Mistakenly, Sage writes what she hears, Miss Alaineus. When she returns to school, Mrs. Page holds a Vocabulary Bee and gives her the word miscellaneous. Her creative spelling and definition sends the class into gales of laughter, much to Sage's dismay. Resolution occurs 10 days later when she arrives at the Annual Vocabulary Parade dressed as "Miss Alaineus, Queen of all Miscellaneous Things." The student's ability to take her mistake and remake it into a positive experience is a valuable lesson. The text and marker illustrations are detailed and appealing, crammed full of fun ways to promote the study of the English language. There is a hidden-word game on the endpapers, an extra credit assignment using alphabetical sentences on every page, and pictures of Sage's Vocabulary Parade Scrapbook on the last three pages.-Karen Land, Greenport Public Schools, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Sage has the flu and receives her vocabulary list via a hurried phone call from her best friend, who spells all but the last word. Sage spells the unfamiliar word as best she can and compounds the problem by writing her own highly imaginative definition without the benefit of a dictionary. The hilarious error is discovered during a vocabulary bee and she is "devastated, ruined, finished." The format of this enchanting book is ingenious. Words are defined within the text and as part of the colorful illustrations. Frasier (Out of the Ocean, 1998, etc.) uses pencil and markers on notebook paper to create a complete record of Sage's vocabulary disaster and ensuing triumph. A border of sentences that Sage writes for another assignment provides a subtext that explains her emotions as the plot unfurls. There is also an addendum in the form of a "vocabulary parade Scrapbook." Even the end papers and the flyleaf are an integral part of the book. There are delightful surprises on every page of this charmer. It is sure to be a favorite that will be read again and again. (Picture book. 6-9)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Debra Frasier created the illustrations for this book from what she found in her fifth-grade daughter's desk-markers, notebook paper, pencils, glue, and scissors. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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