Teaching Children's Literature

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ~C.S. Lewis

Books that Matter: Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Book Cover

Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

               Nothing can make a bad day seem better quite like a good book.  I learned this concept at a young age thanks to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.  When I was a child, this book was one of my all-time favorites.  At first glance, it may seem incredibly negative to say that a book that mattered to me as a child was about a little boy who is having a terrible day.  However, the reasons I loved this book extend far beyond a boy experiencing a bad day.

             The first time my mom read this book out loud to me, I remember laughing and begging for her to read it again.  This book showed me that books are not just words on a page; instead they can stir up real emotions.  A second reason I loved this book was because every time I read it (or it was read to me) I felt like I was being whisked away to Alexander’s world.  Alexander hated lima beans, so did I.  Alexander hated having to go to the dentist, so did I.  Alexander wanted to escape to Australia, and I loved Australia.  I think one of the main reasons I feel in love with this book because I could so easily relate to Alexander.  Another reason I adore this book is because of the memories I have with it.  Whenever I had a bad day at school, my mom would read this book out loud to me.  She wanted to me to understand that all children, even children that live in story books, have bad days.

            Even now, as an adult if I talk to my mom and tell her about a bad day I am having, she will usually respond with something like, “Well, unfortunately, some days are like that.  Even in Australia.”  Alexander’s story teaches a lesson that is universal – everyone has bad days, even people in Australia.


5 comments on “Books that Matter: Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. kristinconradi
    May 23, 2013

    🙂 This post made me smile. Such a classic book.

  2. jspargurjones
    May 24, 2013

    I love to see how this book continues to appeal to children today as well. They can still relate to the events in the story and laugh at some of the things that Alexander says just like we did as children. In fact, today my students performed a Reader’s Theater version of this book for a second grade class. When I asked how many students in the second grade class had read or heard of the book, all the students in the class appeared to have raised their hands. The timelessness of some picture books is invaluable.

  3. mrsgourdin
    May 24, 2013

    My children both love this story as well. They have what we call “Alexander days, ” and I know we need to read the story. Their favorite part of the story is when we replace Australia with Borneo because that was their favorite vacation of all. They think it is impossible to have a bad day in Borneo. So this helps. It is definitely a book that matters in our family!

  4. melissapncsu
    May 24, 2013

    I love this story! I also like I used to be Rich Last Sunday. by the same author. It was very entertaining to watch Alexander lose his money little by little.

  5. miansmall
    May 27, 2013

    I especially enjoyed the illustrations in this book.

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2013 by in Books That Matter and tagged , , .

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