Alexander and the Terrible. Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Written by Judith Viorst – Illustrated by Ray Cruz
Today was a really bad day. I woke up late and so I got my son to his doctor appointment late only to sit around waiting for forever. Then come to find out, the appointment card had the time wrong and we were more than an hour early, so we decided to take the cranky kid to get some lunch, seeing as how he missed breakfast when we overslept. The restaurant also took forever, then messed up the order about as wrong as it could, and we were late getting back to the actual appointment time. Finally, we made it home, much later than expected, to a slew of messages on voice mail none of them good. Did I mention that it is summertime and all this not so fun fun was being had at triple digit temperatures?
One of the reasons I enjoy children’s books so much is that grown-up reality is still so far away from them, but about halfway through my day as tempers grew short on all ends, a book from my childhood stuck in my head. I had thought it was kind of funny when I was in third grade, but as I sat there fuming wondering what else was going to go wrong, I really developed a new respect for the poor kid. He would have understood just how miserable I was today.
Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair and his day just goes downhill from there. His breakfast is no fun, his best friend has new besties and the shoes that he wants are out of stock leaving him with the plain ones, not to mention, he has a visit to the dentist looming in his future. His parents aren’t exactly sympathetic and it still isn’t over because before his day is done he is going to have to watch kissing on television and eat lima beans for dinner. (Actually, I think I got off easy. I HATE lima beans!!) The pencil and ink sketches by Ray Cruz are the perfect medium for conveying Alexander’s day.
Alexander is an ‘every kid’ as the success of the entire series proves and this book is just a classic. Which is why it is still in classrooms and libraries all over the world after nearly fifty years because it perfectly captures the fact that bad days just happen sometimes, even in Australia. Yes, even here in Indiana.