So begin the trials and tribulations of the irascible Alexander, who has been earning the sympathy of readers since 1972. People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad. As Alexander's day progresses, he faces a barrage of bummers worthy of a country- western song: getting smushed in the middle seat of the car, a dessertless lunch sack, a cavity at the dentist's office, stripeless sneakers, witnessing kissing on television, and being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He resolves several times to move to Australia.
Judith Viorst flawlessly and humorously captures a child's testy temperament, rendering Alexander sympathetic rather than whiny. Our hero's gum-styled hair and peevish countenance are artfully depicted by Ray Cruz's illustrations. An ALA Notable Book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a great antidote to bad days everywhere, sure to put a smile on even the crabbiest of faces. (Ages 5 to 9)