Review Blog

Nov 05 2014

Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day by Judith Viorst

cover image

Ill. by Ray Cruz. Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781471122873
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Picture book, Family life, Bad hair days. This is one of those books that is still on the shelves even though it looks like a dog's breakfast, with turned down corners, pages missing, scribble over some or it, and simply well used and loved, because it has been a favourite since being first published forty years ago. Alexander wakes to find that the gum in his mouth last night is now in his hair, the skateboard is under his feet as he gets out of bed, and he has dropped his jumper into the sink. He knows it's going to be one of those days. And yes, as we read all the things that could possibly go wrong, do. He is forced to sit between the children in the back seat, he forgets the number sixteen in maths class, his best friends tells him he is now his third best friend, and Mum forgets to add dessert to his lunch box. And on it goes, a long list of things that go wrong, ruining Alexander's day, but enabling the readers to laugh out loud at his perception of his bad day.
Readers will love hearing of the things that go wrong in Alexander's day, sharing stories of their own bad days, laughing with their class members at their misfortunes, recognising the things that happen to Alexander. It will remind children that everyone has bad days, and short of emigrating, there is little that can be done, except grin and bear it, knowing that the day will end and tomorrow will be much better.
The first edition has been republished, but Alexander has been rendered in colour, making him stand out within the detailed line drawings. Children will love comparing the old and new editions and wonder at what will be in the film, as this publication is a film tie-in.
Fran Knight

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