Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Illustrated by Ray Cruz
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
I feel safe in assuming that in the early 1970s Judith Viorst had children, they were boys, and that she was taking notes.
Whatever could go wrong for a five year old boy does in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible...well, you know the title.
You get the idea. Of course, some of Alexander's problems are of his own making. Waking up he trips on his skateboard, but illustrator Ray Cruz makes it very clear that Alexander has left other stuff out to trip on when he gets up tomorrow.
And Alexander does seem like possibly a bit of a problem child. In any crowd, he's the one with the unruliest hair. He looks to be younger than his siblings, and that's tough too.
You see, the universality of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day lies in the absolute normality of everything that goes wrong. Viorst captures a day on which, perhaps, more things go wrong for Alexander than usual, but also a day on which Alexander is more than prepared to look at everything that happens through a "glass half empty" filter.
Review continues below.
He suspects things are better in Australia (a running gag), but - to his credit - he's singled this day out as pretty much the worst day possible. That means he realizes that most days are better, and his mom assures him that everyone has days like this...
Even in Australia.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day remains a very popular book today, no doubt because kids still have bad days. Cranky, pouty, pilly, grouchy, missed your nap days.
And parents are still helping them try to get through it!
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