From the author of On the Day You
Were Born comes this delightful vocabulary story that is as much
about a social fumble as it is about vocabulary. Definitions
of words are written right into the story – whether it’s
telling what the name of a boy is not (“Forest is not a thicket
of trees”) or
what a difficult word is.
It all started when our protagonist,
Sage, got sick on Vocabulary Day at school and she had her friend
dictate the week’s vocabulary words over the phone. The last
word on the list, miscellaneous, Sage understood as Miss
Alaineus. See, much of her life she heard the word Miss
Alaineus, and through inference, concluded that Miss Alaineus was
actually something absolutely and entirely different. As luck would have it, she was asked to
spell and define miscellaneous in front of the class when
she finally returned to school after her illness.
This book had special appeal to my
son who, when he was very young, saw me using a shoe to get rid of
a pesky bug. From that day forward he quite logically presumed the
expression “to shoo away” meant literally to whack a shoe at a
bug to make it go “away”. Miss Alaineus playfully
reminds us of how children learn language through their first few
experiences with a word and the context surrounding it.
The illustrations are very original,
done with tools you'd find in a school desk.
This hardcover book retails for $16