Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 175: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I remember reading this story when I was a child, probably in elementary school sometime.  It's one of those classic childhood titles that I have always remembered, though admittedly more for the title itself than the actual story.  The library in our town has just one copy, the original 1972 publication, so every time we read it we can see how well loved it has been by children over the past 40 years.  The first time we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, my son and daughter instantly loved it.  They have asked to read it several times a day since we checked it out last week, and even just now while I was trying to write this post, I had to stop and read it to my daughter because she saw the book on the table next to me.

If you're unfamiliar with the story, it's about a little boy who is having one of those days where nothing seems to go right.  From the minute he wakes up with gum in his hair, he can tell it's going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  As they so often do when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, things just keep getting worse and worse.  Alexander has to sit in the middle seat on the way to school.  His mom forgets to pack dessert in his lunch.  The shoe store is sold out of the shoes he wants, and he has to have lima beans with dinner.  His bath is too hot, he doesn't like his pajamas, and the cat wants to sleep with his brother, not him!  In an attempt to escape his problems, he even threatens to move to Australia, which my kids think is hilarious.  They also love the refrain about having a "terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD DAY!!" (especially when I read it so that it gets faster, louder, and more exasperated toward the end.)  My daughter always turns and smiles in anticipation when we get to those lines in the story.  I love the fact that in and of themselves, none of the things that happens to Alexander that day is really all that bad.  And had they occurred in isolation, he probably wouldn't have thought they were all that horrible, either.  But of course, as we all know, things always seem to snowball and get blown out of proportion on days like that.  I know I can certainly relate!  I also love the way the text is written in the rambling, exaggerated way that is so typical among frustrated or excited children (and adults, too, I suppose!)  It reminds me of Sam's rant in Leonardo the Terrible Monster, which is so much fun to read aloud!

It's no wonder that this book has been in print for 40 years now, for the message is one that rings true to children and adults, alike.  We all have days like Alexander, even in Australia, and this story helps bring a bit of humor and clarity to those seemingly miserable situations.  I think it's good for kids to see that sometimes the things we get so upset about really aren't that big of a deal.  It's important for them to know that we're all bound to have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, and that that's okay, because we can go to bed knowing that tomorrow is a new day and we can start fresh in the morning.  The next time you or your child is having a particularly tough day, try reading this story together.  Hopefully it will help cheer you up and bring a smile to your face.


Post a Comment