Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

4-6 and 7-9 years old

By Judith Viorst and Illustrated by Ray Cruz (Scholastic)

Oh how I love this book.  It so perfectly sums up how every child (and adult!) feels once in a while.  Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day begins when he wakes up with chewing gum in his hair and proceeds to trip over his skateboard, wet his sweater and not get the prized toy in his breakfast cereal box.  As the day progresses it gets worse and worse to the point were he feels the entire world is conspiring against him. At school his teacher chooses someone else’s picture as the best and his friend plays with two other boys.  Ater school he is the only one who needs to have a filling at the dentist.  By the end of the day even bath time is bad.

“My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas.  I hate my railroad-train pajamas.”

Just reading this makes me feel sorry for him – there truly are days when nothing seems to go right.  Alexander decides he’s moving to Australia and finally when he gets to bed, his mom tells him “some days are like that…even in Australia.” I love that she doesn’t try to make things better, she just acknowledges he’s had a bad day and it happens.  Its a great life lesson and one I use often when my children come home from school moaning about a litany of perceived slights and injustices. They may be real, they may be overblown, but they happened and you just have to move on.  Tomorrow will be better.

First published in 1972, this is a timeless children’s classic and makes a great gift book. It is currently being made into a movie releasing October 2014.


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