written and illustrated by Debra Frasier
Ages 9-12, 40 pages
Read the book title aloud and you discover Miss Alaineus is actually miscellaneous, which is the vocabulary disaster. Sage got sick from her classmate Forest, who is not a thicket of trees. She’s home sick and needs the vocabulary list to make definitions. Well, her friend Starr, who is not a luminous celestial object, rushes and doesn’t spell out the last word: miscellaneous. Of course, Sage mishears and wonders why her teacher Mrs. Page, who isn’t a sheet of paper, gave a person on the vocabulary list. She’s puzzled and remembers the Miss Alaineus drawer with large spoons, corn holders, and sporks. During a quick shopping trip, Sage grabs the bread and her mom gets Miss Alaineus’ things, which are spaghetti sauce, cheese, corn, and spaghetti noodles. Sage then discovers that Miss Alaineus is the woman on the spaghetti noodles box. Sage writes the definition for Miss Alaineus: the woman on green spaghetti boxes whose hair is the color of uncooked pasta and turns into spaghetti at the ends. Sage returns to school for the vocabulary spelling bee and is embarrassed when she learns that Miss Alaineus is actually miscellaneous after incorrectly spelling the word and providing the definition aloud to the class. Students call her Miss Alaineus and she feels like a Miss Stake. However, Sage turns the disaster into a success at the vocabulary parade where each student dresses as a vocabulary word that they pick.
Throughout the entire book, bold words within the text provide word definitions. For example: ‘I thought maybe she was an ancestor: an ancient relative long dead, who left us all these odd things in the drawer’. There’s also word play, such as Forest who is not a thicket of trees. On each page there is a sentence using three words that start with that letter: A – ‘I have a feeling this awesome ailment will cause me great agony soon’. Miss Alaineus is a wonderful book for older ages that gets them excited about vocabulary and turning a mistake into a solution.
Video Slideshow of Vocabulary Costumes:
Vocabulary Parade Ideas: