Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Just Grace, Star on Stage

by Charise Harper


The ninth installment in this illustrated middle grade series builds upon the delightful adventures of Grace, a curious and well-meaning third grader who occasionally gets into a little bit of trouble. And this time, Grace shines on stage!

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547634128
ISBN-10: 0547634129
Pages: 208
Publication Date: 10/02/2012
Carton Quantity: 24
Grade Level: 1,2,3,4
Age Range: 6,7,8,9

$12.79

$15.99

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In a starred review, Booklist called the Just Grace series “hilarious” and said, “Give this to . . . anyone looking for a funny book.” Grace is a curious and well-meaning third-grader who occasionally gets into a little bit of trouble. This time, her class is putting on a play, and Grace is determined to be the star! But things don’t work out quite like she planned, and Marta gets the role. Grace is jealous at first, but soon realizes there’s more than one way to shine on stage. This is an act that fans of Judy Moody and Clementine surely won’t want to miss!

Charise Harper

Charise Mericle Harper is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Just Grace series. In a starred review, Booklist called Just Grace "Hilarious," and said, "The kids come alive in the story, and Harper enhances the comical goings-on with sparkling cartoon sketches. Give this to . . . anyone looking for a funny book." Charise lives in Westchester County, New York. Visit her website at www.chariseharper.com and visit Just Grace's website at www.justgracebooks.com, where you'll find all sorts of fun things, including videos, quizzes, and information about all the Just Grace books. Read More


FIVE THINGS (GOOD AND BAD)

1. Being called Just Grace when your name is really just Grace. When there are three other Graces in your class at school, this is the kind of bad thing that can happen. I made a comic about it. (Bad Thing)

2. Having your best friend live right next door. (Good Thing)

3. Having an amazing grownup friend who is a flight attendant living in a fancy apartment in your basement. (Good Thing)

4. Having a dog named Mr. Scruffers. (Good Thing)

5. Having the teeny tiny superpower of empathy. (Mostly Good Thing)

When your Good Things list is longer than your Bad Things list, this means that you are lucky, and probably mostly happy.

WHY I WAS EXCITED ABOUT MISS LOIS ON A MONDAY MORNING

Monday mornings are not my favorite, and that’s because Miss Lois, my teacher, always starts Mondays with spelling and math. It’s hard to be excited about school when you are starting the day with the world’s most boring subjects. Miss Lois says it’s good to tackle the important stuff while our brains are fresh and rested from the weekend, but I know what the real truth is. Our brains might be rested, but more than that, they are in shock!

When your brain is in shock, it’s hard to make trouble.

The two people in our class who have perfect brains for Mondays are Sunni and Marta. They are super smart and always know the right answers. On Monday mornings, Miss Lois mostly lets the two of them answer all the questions. This is lucky for the rest of us, because it gives us extra time to get our brains awake. I wish this would happen for the rest of the week, but it doesn’t. By Monday afternoon Miss Lois is back to her normal self, ignoring Sunni and Marta and picking on people who don’t even have their hands up. I wonder how that feels? Being ignored on purpose. I bet they don’t like it.

It probably makes them like Monday mornings more than any other time of the week.

My kind of brain is an imagination brain—it’s not super excited about facts. That’s why it was a surprise for me to be excited. But this wasn’t a regular Monday. On this Monday Miss Lois said something she had never said before, and it changed everything. I never knew it, but one good sentence can do that—it can change everything.

"Our class is going to put on a play."

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

Everyone put their hands up and waved them around like crazy. Now we were all like Sunni and Marta. Nothing like this had ever happened on a Monday before.

Even though there were lots of people to pick from, Miss Lois did her usual thing and picked Sunni first. Usually when she does this no one cares, but today there was lots of groaning and complaining. Owen 1 even said, "No fair—she always gets picked." But Miss Lois didn’t change her mind. She just looked at him and said, "Don’t speak out of turn."

Normally Sunni’s kind of a showoff when she talks in class, but today was different. When Miss Lois pointed to her, Sunni just sat looking nervous and stayed quiet. Finally Miss Lois had to walk over to her desk and ask her, "Sunni, do you have a question?" We all waited for what seemed like forever, and then finally she spoke. "Do we have to be in the play? What if we don’t want to go on stage in front of a lot of people?"

I was surprised about her question, and I wasn’t the only one surprised because suddenly everyone was talking. Miss Lois waved her hand for us to be quiet, and said, "No one has to be in the play. If you don’t want to act, you don’t have to. There are going to be lots of ways to help with the play without being on stage. But don’t think you can just watch and do nothing. This is a class project. Everyone has to participate." After she said that, there were even more questions than before. Sometimes answers are like that.

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT MISS LOIS

Some of the people in our class don’t pay attention. I know this because every time Miss Lois talks about something new, the same thing always happens. Someone asks a question, and then two seconds later, right after she finishes answering it, someone else asks the exact same question. Miss Lois spends a lot of time saying the same stuff over and over again. It would drive me crazy, but I guess she’s used to it.

Today the four most popular questions were . . .

1. Can I have one of the star parts?

2. Who chooses the parts?

3. Are we going to have to sing?

4. Do we get to wear costumes?

There were lots of other questions too. The funniest question was Valerie’s: "Is it going to be a love story? Because I don’t want to kiss anyone! I don’t think there should be kissing."

The best part about talking about the play was that it took up almost all of our morning. We still had to do spelling, but everyone was so happy and excited that we hardly even noticed how boring it was.

MISS LOIS’S ANSWERS TO THE FOUR MOST POPULAR QUESTIONS

1. The star parts are going to be decided after everyone does an audition.

2. Ms. Perry is the director of the play, so she is going to choose the cast. We are very lucky to have her here for this special project. She is also a very good actress.

3. No, there will not be singing.

4. Yes, there will be costumes.

WHAT HAPPENED AT LUNCHTIME

Mimi and I talked about the play. There was a lot to talk about. We made a few guesses about what kind of play it could be, but really we had no idea. The only thing we were sure of was that it probably wasn’t going to be a love story or a fighting story. Miss Lois said that the school had decided not to do those kind of plays. Both girls and boys were disappointed about that, but it was the same amount, so that was fair.

Even though Mimi and I are best friends, we sometimes like completely different things. I was excited about the being in the play, and Mimi was excited about the helping with the play. Her feelings about the play were a little more like Sunni’s than mine, but that didn’t matter—the amount of excited we were was the same amount.

Just thinking about it made us both smile.


"Engaging."—Booklist