Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Won't You Read to Me? Wednesday

The book I am sharing this week was one of my VERY favorites as a child....

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst
illustrated by Ray Cruz

This book is so funny and clever. It is the story of a little boy who is having a very, very bad day. He wakes up and has bubblegum in his hair because he fell asleep with it in his mouth the night before. Then, he trips over his skateboard and drops his sweater in the sink while the water is running, and this is all before he even leaves for school! The day goes on an a series, of "terrible", "horrible", and "no good" events continue to happen. His lunch has no dessert in it, his dentist discovers a cavity, and the new sneakers he gets don't have stripes on them like he wanted. There are lima beans for dinner, kissing on tv, and he has to wear railroad train pajamas. He keeps stating that he thinks he'll just "move to Australia".

Despite some of the bad reviews I've seen on this book, I think it is WONDERFUL. While some may say it teaches negativity in children; I think just the opposite. Even from our earliest readings of this book, when we were very young, we saw it for what it was and found the humor in it. The whole point of the book is to show a little perspective...we all have bad days! In fact, none of the things that happened to Alexander we all that awful, but added all together they made for one very bad day. That happens to all of us, and I want Ann Peyton to know that it is okay to have bad days (because everyone does!) and to express how she is feeling.

Several reviewers commented, not only about the overall "downer" vibe of the book, but about the use of the word "hate". The book was written in 1972, and I honestly have to wonder if this was even an issue then. I just feel like we live in such a P.C. world, sometimes. No, I will not tolerate Ann Peyton saying that she hates another person. But if she wants to say that she hates lima beans, or brussel sprouts, or turnip greens, or whatever, then that is a fine use of the word, if she really feels such strong animosity toward them. It is my opinion that God calls us to love people, not produce, and having a bunch of "off limit" words is not something I'm interested in implementing (of course there will be some, "shut up" for example- but I don't want to have a grocery list of words she can't say). And yes, she will still have to eat some of the hated food(*). When she starts saying FML, then we'll have a problem. [Side rant: I see high school/college kids saying that on facebook all the time, now. They day I see that as AP's status is the day she looses internet privileges. For the rest of highschool.]

* She will eat three of whatever food it is that she has such deep disdain for. That was always my grandmother's rule- you must eat three English peas/green beans/ect., even if they are not your favorite. I think it's a wonderful rule!

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1 comment:

Tiffany said...

I can't get Mr. Linky to work but my post is up. -I like this book too, and for the same reasons. I have used it along with other books like My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss when I taught preschool. We did a thematic unit called All About Me. I think it's important to a child's self esteem to validate their feelings, good or bad, and to help them in a safe environment understand what they are feeling and why. Once you do that you can help them understand that God gave us the ability to feel bad feelings like anger just as he gave us the ablilty to feel pain so we recognize when something is wrong or we are hurt. And it is OK to feel those feelings, but part of being a big girl or big boy is self control or learning what to do with those feelings, how to express them in a healthy way. On another note, we don't use shut up in our home either, or butt. Hugh hates that one with a passion. We also have the same rule about eating 3 of something. I think it's a great rule, because it has helped my children try and like new things. :)