Feature & Follow Friday #9

Each week I participate in Parajunkee & Alison Can Read‘s blog hop, “Feature & Follow Friday.”

Follow me via Bloglovin', WordPress, Facebook, or Email!

Follow me via Bloglovin’, WordPress, Facebook, or Email!

The point is to create a lively conversation about a particular bookish topic, make friends, and gain followers. Much to my delight, this week’s question is:

Q: What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid? If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

If you were to ask me, now, what my favorite book is as an adult, I wouldn’t be able to answer you. It’d be like asking me to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life: hay, raisins, or alfalfa. I need every single one of those things to survive. Hay provides fiber and sustenance; raisins are sweet and addictive – without them, life would not be worth living; and alfalfa provides much-needed variety. I think it’s fascinating that my response is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum when asked about my favorite children’s books. I don’t even need for the answer to be plural because I have one, unequivocal favorite.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst.

moxalexread

So into it.

moxalextell

Spreading the good word; “You guys gotta come read this shit!”

I can’t tell you what I loved about it as a baby bunny. Sadly, I am a little too divorced from that reality now to remember (not terribly divorced (I still have a child-like heart and can be completely juvenile at times) but just enough). What I can tell you is that it’s stood the test of time and I still think it’s fantastic. So I can share what I love about it now.

It’s about a little boy – Alexander – who, as the title suggests, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. A slew of disappointing things happen to him (none too serious or egregious) and his solution is to decide to move to Australia. I think it’s a sound one. When I have a bad day now, I still consider that as a possibility.

I love the way that the bad things are presented. On each page, Alexander lists the numerous tragedies that befall him (like lima beans for dinner or kissing on tv), in order, and without much punctuation. There are no periods. Everything is linked up by the conjunction “and”, and Alexander piles it on, barely giving the reader time to breathe. It’s hilariously effective in showing just how truly overwhelmed the child is.

I love the illustrations by Ray Cruz. They’re just black and white, but they’re subtle and charming. I love, for instance, how in the very first drawing on the very first page, Alexander’s expression is being mimicked in the background by his teddy bear.

alex

And more than anything, I love the ending. I love that Viorst doesn’t sugarcoat things or feel like she has to bring everything up with a false positive note. When Alexander goes to sleep, he’s still in a bad mood. He’s still grumpy! His mom doesn’t come in and tell him that “tomorrow will be a better day,” she just says, “Hey, buddy, some days are like that.” I love that the book allows kids to feel feelings and gives validation to their troubles. And I love that it does so without being heavy-handed. It quietly teaches that even when life’s got you down, it’s important not to lose your sense of humor.

On a related note, I’m thinking of hosting a Reading Challenge on my blog come January. It will be a 48-hour challenge (the goal will be to read as many pages & as many books as you can in a 48-hour time span, blogging & reviewing, & taking time to visit other participants’ blogs as you go along). I plan to solicit authors & publishing companies for some books to offer as prizes to the top-readers. (If anyone has any tips on how to go about doing this, I’d love to hear them!). The organizing principle – the theme, if you will – is going to be “Second Childhood Reading Challenge”, or “The Nostalgia Reading Challenge.” The idea is to reread your favorite childhood books & see if they’ve withstood the test of time. Chapter books only. No early readers or picture books will be counted toward page/book totals. For me, that includes books like Bridge to Terabithia, BunniculaThe Phantom TollboothA Ring of Endless Light, and some less impressive books that I’m both eager to revisit (because they’re hilarious to me now) and am dreading (because they’re sure to be trash). There was a series that I adored put out by the Ford Modeling Agency which will require some attention:

paige

One of the Great American Novels. “Moby Dick”, “The Sun Also Rises”, and “On the Road” ain’t got nothin’ on “The New Me!”

What do you guys think? Would you be interested in participating? Should I make this happen? ‘Cause if I did it & no one cared, it would be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (plus another whole day), indeed. And I don’t really want to have to move to Australia.

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About pookapicks

I'm a 20-something gal working in Children's Library Services. My likes include googly eyes, coffee, magical realism, leading Story Hours, and forcing my taste in books down people's throats. I have a pet rabbit named Moxie Crimefighter.
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49 Responses to Feature & Follow Friday #9

  1. Berls says:

    This post was awesome – I only had a vague memory of Alexander’s bad day, but I do remember loving it as a child. It was one we didn’t own but I checked out of the library over and over. I’m so glad you brought up the ending, because you’re so right – it’s great that it doesn’t sugarcoat things for kids. They know that there are days that just suck and they need to learn how to deal with them, the earlier they figure out how to have a good attitude about bad things the better – because unfortunately that’s just part of life. And I absolutely love the way you use Moxie Crimefighter as the voice for your post. Awesome!

    On a side note, I’m very interested in your challenge. I’d be interested in revisiting the Babysitter’s Club because I was obsessed as a kid and I have a feeling that they will be hilariously bad. Great idea!

  2. What a terrific choice! I think the Read Challenge sounds like fun and a chance to relive some wonderful old memories (and in no way a reason to move to Australia…unless you want to be a Down Under bunny) Thanks for stopping by my FF this week!

    • pookapicks says:

      I think if I moved I’d probably have to shape-shift into a marsupial. I guess I wouldn’t mind having that pocket, though. Seems like it could come in handy. I could keep books in it!

  3. I remember one of my teachers reading that book to the class – and enjoying it too. The memories of it were vague though. I love your post, definitely did bring back some nostalgia. 🙂 Awesome choice. Oh and thank you so much for checking out my blog!

  4. I loved your choice!Did you get a chance to see the HBO cartoon special they did on it!It was so cute and the songs were sung until they got played out in our house,lol

    Thanks for visiting our blog, Now following via bloglovin and wordpress reader!

    Guinevere & Libertad @ Twinja Book Reviews

  5. Julie S. says:

    This is a great post. I think your challenge idea is really cute. I don’t know if I will be able to participate since that increases my to read list lol. When are you thinking of having it?

    • pookapicks says:

      Thanks!
      I’m thinking January. That way, it’ll give me plenty of time to plan & I figure it’ll align with people’s blogging-related New Year’s resolutions, which will maybe lead to better participation. Devious, I know. 😉

  6. I remember that book – it was a fun read! Great post – and I’m loving your blog! I’m a new follower via Bloglovin’ and through Blogger. ^^

  7. leahynp says:

    Thanks for hopping by, and reminding me of Alexander…how in the world could I have forgotten him?! Oi vay!

    And YES, I would definitely be into your challenge idea! My BF is going to be traveling for much of the winter which leaves me with all the time in the world to read and blog all I want, woo hoo! Not that I won’t miss him of course, but for the moment I’m excited about some extra me time for fun things like book challenges! Definitely keep me posted 🙂

    Leah @ Yummy Reads

    • leahynp says:

      Forgot one important detail…following now on Bloglovin!

    • pookapicks says:

      Oh, I know that story! My boyfriend does wedding photography & videography ( http://adamwaz.com/ ), so he’s gone pretty much *every weekend* during the wedding season, doing Destination Weddings in Newport, RI. It gives me plenty of time to read & blog… though I’d be lying if I said that a lot of that time wasn’t also spent fiddling about on Facebook & watching Netflix. 😉 I’m following you, too, and will keep you abreast of the Challenge situation!

  8. I havent heard of those books but the picture with the bunny reading the book is adorable sooo cute!!
    here is my list: http://caitstruelife.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/follow-me-friday-childhood-books/

  9. That is the most AWESOMEST RABBIT EVER! Definitely a new follow via Blog Lovin’ 😀

  10. ahhhhh . . .you pick looks awesome, just the book I would read to my boys and I love the rabbit, I have one too!!!!!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, I am now following back xxx
    Kirsty @ All in one Place

  11. I want to hug the rabbit. I used to have a Rex. I loved Alexander’s bad day!!

  12. michiedoll says:

    great list,beautiful bunny too. visiting back for FF

  13. Annette says:

    Vaguely familiar with this one. Sounds delightful! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Great book – I like how the author hasn’t sugarcoated having a bad day! Great idea too, I love the thought of going back and reading childhood books!

    Charl
    http://www.aplaceonthebookshelf.blogspot.com

  15. I loved Alexander as a child too and I think we currently have two copies of this book around the house! I have recently re-read some chapter books that I read as a child and have enjoyed it. There are definitely a few more that I want to get my hands on and lots of classic children’s books that I could re-read – I’d be interested in the challenge if you do it!

    Thanks for stopping by my FFF!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  16. KristinaD says:

    Loved this book also. Great pick! Thanks for stopping by

  17. bookcupid says:

    I remember this book. Very good. And yes, I remember the punctuation beeing off. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Nemo says:

    It looks like such an aweosme book >.< Thank you for your follow, i am following you on Bloglovin!

  19. Kathy A. says:

    Great post!! And you should do the challenge – by then I should have time to join (I over did it with my review requests). Thanks for following me and I’m now following you on Bloglovin

  20. cfiel25 says:

    Hello, Pooka! I haven’t heard about this book yet. But Alexander seemed like a very fun read and if it’s available freely, I’m going to read it even at this age. 😀

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  21. Vilia says:

    Unfortunately we have lima beans and kissing on tv in Australia so while Alexander’s idea is great, moving here wouldn’t solve his problems 🙂

  22. Great post! I, too, love Alexander. I think the point I agree on the most is that it sends the message that it’s okay to have a bad day. They *are* going to happen and there’s no stopping them. 🙂

    Your reading challenge idea sounds fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to join in when you decide to do it. 🙂

    Brandy @ A Little of the Book Life
    New follower!

  23. Persephone says:

    Love your rabbit. Moxie Crimefighter (nod to Penn Jillette?) is adorable. I have a cat named Mad Moxxie Mayhem. I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day every monday.

  24. barmybex says:

    Haven’t heard of those, but I love the little bunny!!! 😀

  25. Angie says:

    WHAT!! This book is good.. but that bunny is fricken AMAZING!!!!!!! Checking out the rest of your blog now of course.

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