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Debra Frasier
Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster

Ages 6-10
Order: Hardcover


Tuesday is Vocabulary Day at Webster School. Sage has been sick and calls her friend Starr for the week's list. Starr hurriedly spells all but the last word, which is unfamiliar to Sage. She scribbles Miss Alaineus. Sometimes she already knows the words and would make up definitions that sounded like she looked them up. And she thought she was pretty good at it.

"My mom says, 'Pride goeth before a fall.'

Instead of using the dictionary, she writes her own creative definition for the last word. She thought it had something to do with the kitchen because the Miss Alaineus drawer held everything that didn't go in the other drawers or it could be a person, like the woman on the spaghetti box.

When she returns to school, Mrs. Page called out her vocabulary word. She spelled: "Capital M-I-S-S, capital A-L-A-I-N-E-U-S, and added, 'the woman on green spaghetti boxes whose hair is the color of uncooked pasta and turns into spaghetti at the ends." The class bursts into "one huge giggling, laughing, falling-down mass of kids." Sage is "devastated, ruined, finished."

How on earth can she be anything else but Miss Stake at the Vocabulary Parade. It took a lot of courage, but Sage pulled it off. She was Miss Alaineus: Queen of all Miscellaneous Things.

This book is brilliant. At the beginning of the book, there is an Extra Credit Assignment: "Open the dictionary to the A section and write a sentence using three words that begin with the letter A. Try to select words that are different, unusual, or surprising to you. When you have completed you’re a sentence, move on to the B section. Continue writing one sentence using three words from each letter until you complete the alphabet. I'd like your sentences to tell me something about your daily activities--consider writing about what you are doing, thinking, or feeling."

A few of Sage's sentences, for which she receives an "A", are:

"On the ruined, rotten day, it rains in my heart."
"Won't this heap of homework make my headache worse?"
"My bed is just a jumbo jumble of germy sheets."
"This is positively the most painful day of my short, pathetic life."

Look closely at the endpapers. Twenty-five of the words Sage used in her Extra Credit Dictionary Sentences are hidden forward, backward, and diagonally.

Debra Frasier was inspired to write this book with what she found in her daughter's desk: markers, notebook paper, pencils, glue and scissors. Each page is bordered with sentences that Sage writes for the Extra Credit assignment which provide the subtext and explains her emotions throughout the plot.

Order Hardcover
Photo Journal
Book and Musical CD


"On the day you were born a forest of tall trees collected the Sun's light in their leaves, where, in silent mystery, they made oxygen for you to breathe..."

Radiant and moving, it doesn't get much better than this explaining what went on in the Universe the day your child was born.

A book that I highly recommend. A child will feel and know that they are a significant part of Universe.

A beautiful book to give as a gift, for any child; adopted, foster child, nursery school.

Although this book is recommended for the 4-8 group, a child of 12 months will be fascinated and held captive with this book and grow along with the book.

Ages: 4 - 8

Order: Hardcover
Classroom Support
Create a photo booth

OUT OF THE OCEAN Book, Treasure Bag and Ocean Journal Package

"My mother says you can ask the ocean to bring you something. If you look, she says, you might find it,"

One sunny day, waves beating on the shore, a mother and daughter walk the beach collecting shells, , a wooden shoe, shark's eggs and beach glass.


Cycle of a Sea Turtle and follow the tracks
Notes in glass bottles
Collage like art
Beach treasure hunt

SEE NATURE SECTION for The Incredible Water Show 4-8 [a neighborhood performance starring the world's most astounding combination of atoms—H2O!]

Debra Frasier's reverence and respect for the natural world grew out of her childhood experiences living near the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach, Florida. Her work with Artist-in-Education programs is designing projects that combine natural history with the visual arts. She has also built large cloth wind sculptures for several cities in the United States.

Debra Frasier now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, photographer James Henkel, and their daughter, Calla.