Monday, October 6, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 170



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

Author: Judith Viorst

Illustrator: Ray Cruz

Summary: Waking up with gum in his hair is the first of a series of bad things that happens to Alexander. He quickly declares it a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” As the unfortunate events pile on, he pronounces several times that he intends to move to Australia. When he complains to his family, no one even comments, but at the end of the day as his mom is saying good night, he says again what kind of day he is having. She tells him that “some days are just like that. Even in Australia (sic).”

Hanna’s Comments: I thought it would be fun to highlight this book just as the feature film comes out this week. At this time I’ve seen only the previews, but it looks like they have recruited some great actors for this very funny, much-loved children’s story. The writers of the screenplay would have added a great deal of material. Hopefully they have stayed true to the humor and delight of the original. Why do we love this tale so? I believe this is because we’ve all had this kind of day. Reading this story again through my PBT lenses, I thought of the many laments in the Holy Scriptures. It is very human to suffer, and it is very healthy to complain about that suffering and want sympathy and an escape, especially to a place as wonderful as Australia.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 1972

Age & Grade Appropriateness:  5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audible, CD, video on Youtube.com, A live-action feature length film is released in the USA this week.

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: anger, authenticity, brokenness, challenges, communication, confession, consequences/punishment, coveting/envy/jealousy, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, disappointment, emotions/feelings, grace, humanity, humility, injustice, judgment/judges/judging, lamentations, loneliness, mistakes, patience, perseverance, perspective, prayer, victims

Scripture Connections:  A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.  Rachel is weeping for her children (Jeremiah 31:15); for these things I weep (Lamentations 1:16a)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book when talking with children about different types of prayers. Point out how Alexander’s complaints are similar in tone to the laments in our Holy Scriptures and perfectly appropriate to bring to God in prayer.