DeLaCroix, Alice 1940-
DeLaCroix, Alice 1940-
Born 1940, in IN; married; children: two children. Education: Purdue University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Animals, gardening.
Educator and author. Purdue University, Purdue, IN, instructor.
Mattie's Whisper, illustrated by John Dyess, Caroline House (Honesdale, PA), 1992.
The Hero of Third Grade, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2002.
How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of stories to periodicals, including Highlights for Children, and to the anthology Bruce Coville's Book of Magic II.
Alice DeLaCroix became interested in writing children's books while raising her own two children, and she had her first novel, Mattie's Whisper, published in 1992. A contributor to Highlights for Children, DeLaCroix has also introduced readers to a likeable third grader named Randall in her chapter books The Hero of Third Grade and How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer.
In The Hero of Third Grade Randall's parents have just divorced, and he now finds himself living with his mom in a new town and starting a new school part way through the academic year. When Gordo, the bully in Randall's new third-grade class, decides to make the boy his new target, the beleaguered Randall decides that to model his reaction on those of the eighteenth-century fictional French hero the Scarlet Pimpernel. Acting meek in public and strong in secret, Randall does several good deeds, and along the way, he gains self-confidence. Praising DeLaCroix for creating realistic third-grade characters and relationships, School Library Journal critic Elaine E. Knight described The Hero of Third Grade as a "humorous … book with a quiet message about courage and individuality." In Booklist, Connie Fletcher also enjoyed the chapter book, dubbing DeLaCroix's story "funny" and "ingenious," with "a wonderful sense of pacing."
Randall returns in How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer, where the challenge is to survive a potentially bleak summer in his new hometown of Rushville. Fortunately, Randall has best friends Max and Tara to help him, and the trio form the Checkmate Squad. Hoping to teach chess to the town's masses, the newly minted fourth graders hatch ambitious plans to take over Rushport park's chess tables for gaming, and even host classes for those unfamiliar with the game. As the summer passes, the new friends Randall makes keep his summer far from boring and even interject a mystery or two into his school vacation. In School Library Journal Kelly Roth recommended How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer as "a positive story about inclusion and kindness." In addition to enjoying Cynthia Fisher's illustrations, Shelle Rosenfeld commented in Booklist that DeLaCroix's "lively novel highlights community building and the rewards of … cross-generational relationships."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2003, Connie Fletcher, review of The Hero of Third Grade, p. 888; August, 2007, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer, p. 73.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2002, review of The Hero of Third Grade, p. 102.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2002, review of The Hero of Third Grade, p. 1528; July 1, 2007, review of How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer.
School Library Journal, June, 1992, Carolyn Noah, review of Mattie's Whisper, p. 112; December, 2002, Elaine E. Knight, review of The Hero of Third Grade, p. 86; July, 2007, Kelly Roth, review of How to Survive a Totally Boring Summer, p. 73.