Today Caramel reviews the 1972 classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.
Sprinkles: Why don’t you start by telling us what this book is about Caramel?
Caramel: There is this boy named Alexander. This day for him is very bad. I read the book a few times, and we also just read it together last night, didn’t we Sprinkles?
S: Yes, we did. So why is Alexander’s day a bad one?
C: It starts out bad.
C: He trips on his skateboard, and he had gum in his mouth when he fell asleep, so when he gets up, it is in his hair.
S: That’s terrible!
C: There’s more. His jacket falls into the sink while the water is still running and gets all wet. And then both his brothers get toys from their morning cereal and he only finds cereal in his box. Nothing else.
S: Hmm. That sounds like an unlucky day!
C: Yes, it is very unlucky for him.
S: So the whole book is about this very bad, no good day, right?
C: Yeah. It is sad for him. I sympathize with him.
S: How so?
C: I sometimes have bad days too. Don’t you know that Sprinkles?
S: Of course. We all have bad days sometimes.
C: And his is especially bad. His friends all get nice desserts in their lunch boxes, and he gets nothing for dessert. And his brother makes him fall down in the mud, and when he punches him, he gets caught and his mom scolds him. For being muddy and fighting. I’m mad at his brother, too.
S: Well, you are right. He should not have pushed Alexander into the mud. But you and Marshmallow also fight sometimes, right?
C: But it’s rare. And we never pushed each other into the mud.
S: Hmm. I guess here in this blog we should not admit to too many family secrets.
C: Yes. Family secrets! I like that.
S: Ok, so let us get back to Alexander. I know you actually have some mixed feelings about this book. Can you share a bit?
C: Ok. I’ll share my true feelings about it. I like it and I don’t like it.
S: Can you say a bit more?
C: The reason I don’t like it is because it is sad for him. Alexander really has a really bad day. And I like it because it’s kind of funny.
S: It is funny, true! And it is actually quite a realistic book, right? We read a lot of books where people always solve all their problems and end up happy and such. But in real life, sometimes things don’t go our way, and for no good reason, and we get frustrated and feel bad.
C: Or mad. Or both at the same time. Which is never the best of feelings.
S: So maybe the book can help a reader feel a bit better if they are having a bad day themselves. What do you think?
C: I think it could help. He is obsessed about Australia.
S: Yes, he wants to drop everything and …
C: And go to Australia!
S: As if that will solve his problems…
C: It won’t. But what if he did go to Australia?
S: well, it would not really have helped. That is what his mom says in the end right?
C: Right. She says some days are really bad, and even in Australia! I don’t really understand why he is so obsessed with Australia though.
S: I guess when he is so frustrated, he wants to get away from his problems, as far as possible. And Australia sounds far…
C: Probably it is. It is far from us! But it is not far for people who are already living in Australia.
S: That’s correct. But as Alexander’s mom says, people in Australia also have bad days.
C: Yes. Everybody has bad days sometimes. So for such days, you can read this book. Or just go to sleep. Like I will do now.
S: Ok, that sounds right to me. Why don’t we wrap this up then?
C: Ok, let’s. Stay tuned for more reviews from the book bunnies!