Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Angus & Robertson, 1973
Alexander is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.It starts with waking up with gum in his hair, tripping over his skateboard that he left on the floor, and dropping his sweater in the sink while the water was running and he knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
And he was right. From only finding cereal in his breakfast cereal box when his brothers found amazing toys, to being scrunched and smushed in the middle of the backseat on the school run, to a visit to the dentist and kissing on TV, Alexander has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It’s so bad he thinks he will move to Timbuktu but even there…
This is one of my all-time favourite read-alouds. Told in a droll, monotone with such a catchy phrase repeated throughout, the children are captured as they live through Alexander’s day, empathising with his morfortunes as they remember their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. The accompanying monochrome drawings add to the atmosphere and altogether, it makes for a story that has been on my read-with-kids list since it was first published in my first year of teaching. There would be few children who have been in my care during those 40 years who have not heard it, or its sequels Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me, I mean it!) Going to Move and Alexander, who used to be rich last Sunday (great for building maths activities on.)
An internet search will bring up lots of activities that can be used to accompany the story, but my favourite was getting them to write about their terrific, fabulous, super-duper, do-it-again day. But it also offers opportunities for a discussion about feelings and emotions, starting the concept that it is OK to talk about your mental health early and perhaps breaking down barriers.
If your child enjoys this adventure then try…