I HEARD MY MOM COMING UP THE STEPS, SING THE SONG ABOUT ME--"ALAINA, MY BEAUTIFUL ALAINA" AND I KNEW THAT SLEEP TIME WAS OVER.
TODAY I LAUGHED AND STOOD UP ON THE BED, AND I JUMPED AS HIGH AS I COULD.
>"I'M UP! I'M WAAAY UP IN THE AIR!"
For Alaina, this is a big day--the second grade play--and out of all the Kindergartners, she has been picked to make a speech at the end--only five words, but she can't wait!
Dressed in brand-new jeans, she waves goodbye to her mom, who promises to be back in the afternoon to see the play and hear her speech.
As the day goes by, the school fills with anticipation. Alaina says her speech over and over in her head and to anyone who will listen. It seems the whole school is a-twitter with anticipation, especially after lunch when they catch a glimpse of parents heading for the auditorium and of the second-graders, dressed like college students--the boys in letter tees and the girls in makeup and dangly earrings. At last they arrange themselves on the stage, ready to pretend to chat, joking and laughing, like real grown-up college students.
Alaina takes her place in the wings, just out of sight of the students and parents seated in the auditorium, the five words of her speech running constantly through her head. The curtains open and the play begins. The actors pretend to get mad at each other. The yelling seems so real tha Alaina wants it to stop. But then they settle their problem and have a party--with dancing!
MISS WHEELER CLOSED THE CURTAINS, REALLY REALLY SLOW.
THEN THEY OPENED AGAIN, AND THE KIDS BOWED, AND THE AUDIENCE STOOD UP AND CLAPPED AND CLAPPED.
And then it was time for Alaina to come to center stage and say her speech. But carried away by the thrill of performance, when she opened her mouth, different words came out!
"WASN'T THAT GREAT? WASN'T IT STUPENDOUS?"
And as Alaina finishes off with a few cartwheels, Miss Wheeler gives her a look and quickly begins to bring down the curtains.
But in noted author Eloise Greenfields's latest, Alaina and the Great Play (Alazar Press, 2021), the stagestruck Alaina has the last word, or words--
"THANK YOU FOR COMING! GOODBYE!
Author Greenfield catches perfectly the nervous excitement and energy of a school performance with parents present, and artist Colin Bootman's glowingly realistic paintings capture the magic of a school play day in this outstanding books for preschool and primary readers. Writes Booklist's reviewer, "A wonderful story to explain what theater is and how it conveys storytelling to an audience."