Saturday, June 22, 2013

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

Author: Judith Viorst
Illustrator:   Ray Cruz
Publisher:  Atheneum
Publication Year:   1972
Location: Personal collection

Awards:   ALA Notable, Reading Rainbow selection

Summary:  Alexander is having a bad day. Everything is going wrong- from waking up with gum in his hair to to messing up in school to fighting with his friends. He wants to move to Australia. His day gets worse and worse, until the lima beans for dinner and the hated railroad-train pajamas. At the end of it all, Alexander's mom reassures him that everybody has bad days, even in Australia. Cruz's realistic drawings showing Alexander's typical life in detail; and Viorst finds a way to make his compaints sympathetic rather than whiny. One of my childhood favorites!

Classroom Ideas: This book would work well as a mentor text as kids write about their worst day. It also has great mood, and Alexander's character would be an interesting one to discuss (Does he perhaps bring some of this bad day onto himself? Is he a reliable narrator?)  The refrain of moving to Australia could be an example of repetition.

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