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DEBRA FRASIER is the creator of Out of the Ocean and the bestselling classic On the Day You Were Born. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Frasier (On the Day You Were Born) goes back to school for this labored picture book about a girl's classroom gaffe. When Forest ("Forest is not a thicket of trees. Forest is a boy. A sick boy") coughs and sneezes "all over her desk and pencils," fifth-grader Sage catches a cold and must stay home from Webster School, missing Vocabulary Day. She phones her best friend to procure the week's word list, but misunderstands the last entry: she jots down "Miss Alaineus" instead of "miscellaneous." The error causes Sage big embarrassment when she returns to class, but her understanding mother helps her find the "gold" in her mistake. Frasier sticks closely to her theme, penning a wordy text riddled with vocabulary definitions ("I was devastated: wasted, ravaged"). This may amuse teachers but will likely wear thin on youngsters. And though the author believably captures Sages's feelings, a meandering story line slows the proceedings. The book's unusual design features purposely childlike but unappealing cut-paper collages composed of lined notebook paper colored with markers. A border on each page contains one hand-lettered line of Sage's extra-credit assignment, and an endnote scrapbook section offers suggestions for a school Vocabulary Parade. All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 3-5-This inventive picture book is a spelling book, a vocabulary book, a game book, and a costume book all rolled into one. Sage, a fifth grader who is home sick, phones a classmate to get her homework assignment. In a big hurry, Starr spells each word out except for the last one. Mistakenly, Sage writes what she hears, Miss Alaineus. When she returns to school, Mrs. Page holds a Vocabulary Bee and gives her the word miscellaneous. Her creative spelling and definition sends the class into gales of laughter, much to Sage's dismay. Resolution occurs 10 days later when she arrives at the Annual Vocabulary Parade dressed as "Miss Alaineus, Queen of all Miscellaneous Things." The student's ability to take her mistake and remake it into a positive experience is a valuable lesson. The text and marker illustrations are detailed and appealing, crammed full of fun ways to promote the study of the English language. There is a hidden-word game on the endpapers, an extra credit assignment using alphabetical sentences on every page, and pictures of Sage's Vocabulary Parade Scrapbook on the last three pages.-Karen Land, Greenport Public Schools, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
[set star] "There are delightful surprises on every page of this charmer. It is sure to be a favorite that will be read again and again."--Kirkus Reviews (starred) "This inventive picture book is a spelling book, a vocabulary book, a game book, and a costume book all rolled into one."--School Library Journal