Saturday, September 5, 2015

Module 2: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Book Summary: Alexander knows he's going to have a really bad day when he wakes up with gum in his hair. Of course, things just get worse as minor annoyances build on top of each other to build one really big, terrible day.

APA Reference: Viorst, J., & Cruz, R. (Illustrator). (1972). Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Impressions: On a first reading, "Alexander..." is a bothersome read about a boy with a bad attitude who throws a day-long fit for no major reasons and with no resolution. Upon further reflection, however, I find the book to be much smarter than originally perceived. The book takes a look at how anybody can feel like they have had the worst day ever when, in fact, it's been merely a culmination of inconsequential annoyances that have built up on each other to create a breaking point. Everybody has had days like that where just waking up in the morning starts you off on the wrong foot and everything seems to continually go wrong from there. It's a good reminder that adults are not the only ones who have days like that, either.

Professional Review: In the spiky spirit of Sunday Morning (1969) but more truly attuned to a child's point of view, Viorst reviews a really aggravating (if not terrible, horrible, and very bad) day in the life of a properly disgruntled kid who wakes up with gum in his hair and goes to bed after enduring lima beans for dinner and kissing on T.V.

At school, "Mrs. Dickens liked Paul's picture of sailboat better than my picture of the invisible castle," and at lunch, "guess whose mother forgot to put in dessert?" After school "my mom took us all to the dentist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me," and there is worse to come. It's no wonder the kid's ready to move to Australia, but in the end, "My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia."
If Alexander's mother is smart to offer casual sympathy without phoney consolation, Cruz and Viorst accord readers the same respect.
Kirkus Reviews. (2012). Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Retrieved from 

Library Uses: Do a book talk, particularly with younger students, and to teach about how we all have bad days sometimes. Lead into a discussion about bad days students have had.

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