Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster
Harcourt, 2007 (2000)
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Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch
iss 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.
age hears the word
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
to be spelled
and to mean '
the woman on green spaghetti boxes whose hair is the color of uncooked pasta and turns into spaghetti at the ends.
nfortunately, Sage recites this definition to the whole class, who erupt in laughter at her expense. She is both
aware of my shortcomings, modest, meek
). Ultimately, Sage learns to turn a humiliating moment into a positive one as she plays the part of
in the school play and wins a trophy for '
The Most Original Use of a Word in the Tenth Annual Vocabulary Parade.
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.
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