Select one of the keywords
Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster    by Debra Frasier order for
Miss Alaineus
by Debra Frasier
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2000)
Hardcover, Softcover

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster is a very cute book for word lovers, or for those parents who would like their children to increase their vocabulary. Sage, a fifth-grader, must learn new vocabulary words weekly, alphabetically, and use them in a sentence. While she is home sick, her friend Starr ('who is not a luminous celestial object seen as a point of light in the sky, but a very smart girl who listens perfectly on Vocabulary Day'), reads Sage the latest vocabulary words.

Sage hears the word Miscellaneous from Starr, but does not know what to make of it. When she is grocery shopping with her mother, her mother says she has to get a miscellaneous item, which turns out to be a box of spaghetti. Somehow, Sage interprets the word miscellaneous to be spelled Miss Alaineus and to mean 'the woman on green spaghetti boxes whose hair is the color of uncooked pasta and turns into spaghetti at the ends.'

Unfortunately, Sage recites this definition to the whole class, who erupt in laughter at her expense. She is both humbled (aware of my shortcomings, modest, meek) and devastated (wasted, ravaged). Ultimately, Sage learns to turn a humiliating moment into a positive one as she plays the part of Miss Alaineus in the school play and wins a trophy for 'The Most Original Use of a Word in the Tenth Annual Vocabulary Parade.'

I like this book on several levels. First, it teaches children that making honest mistakes is okay, and that sometimes, laughing at oneself is the best way to ease embarrassment. The book is also chock full of vocabulary words and their definitions, so it's a great learning tool. The illustrations are whimsical, colorful and add to the fun.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Kids books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews