Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
|Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day|
|Publication date||June 1972|
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, published in 1972, is an ALA Notable Children's Book written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. It has also won a George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit, a Georgia Children's Book Award, and is a Reading Rainbow book. Viorst followed this book up with a sequel, Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days.
From the moment Alexander wakes up, things just don't go Alexander's way. As he gets up, the gum that was in his mouth the night before winds up in his hair. When he gets out of bed, he trips on the skateboard and drops his sweater into the sink while the water was running. At breakfast, Alexander's brothers, Anthony and Nick reach into their cereal boxes and find amazing prizes, while Alexander ends up with cereal.
On the way to school, he doesn't get the window seat in the carpool. At school, his teacher, Mrs. Dickens doesn't like his picture of the invisible castle (which is actually just a blank sheet of paper), criticizes him for singing too loud and leaving out 16. His friend, Paul deserts him for his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunchbag. At the dentist, Dr. Fields tells Alexander he has a cavity, the elevator door closes on his foot, Anthony pushes him in the mud, Nick says he is a crybaby for crying, and Mum punishes him in the act of punching Nick.
At the shoe store, they're sold out of Alexander's choice of sneakers (blue ones with red stripes), so Mum has to buy him plain white sneakers, which he refuses to wear. At Dad's office, Alexander makes a mess of things when he fools around with everything there (the copying machine, the books, and the telephone) getting to the point where Dad tells him not to pick him up from work anymore.
At home, the family has lima beans for dinner (which he hates), there is kissing on TV (which he also hates), bathtime becomes a nightmare (too much hot water, soap in his eyes, and losing a marble down the drain) and he has to wear his railroad train pyjamas (he hates his railroad train pyjamas). At bedtime, his nightlight burns out, he bites his tongue, Nick takes back a pillow, and the family cat chooses to sleep with Anthony. No wonder Alexander wants to move to Australia. The book ends with Mum's assurance that everybody has bad days, even people who live in Australia. In the Australian and New Zealand versions he wants to move to Timbuktu, not Australia.
While the special remained true to the book, there were some differences from the original book that are as follows:
A. Dad has no mustache like he did in the book, Nick wears glasses, and the family cat is named Timothy (the cat's name wasn't mentioned in the book).
B. Aside from the running gag of Alexander making references to Australia, the producers added another running gag in the special: Alexander searches for his favorite yo-yo; a purple glow in the dark one at home, school, and Dad's office.
C. Ten bad things for Alexander were added to the special:
- Alexander pulling out a drawer too far, making it land on his foot.
- Alexander spilling breakfast cereal on the floor while searching for the free prize.
- Alexander's friends laughs at him when he drew his invisible castle
- Alexander's friends refusing to let him play Monkey in the Middle with them.
- Alexander singing "roll" and "merlily" in the "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" song.
- Alexander's friends teases him when he left out 16.
- Alexander's friends teasing him for going to the dentist when he explains why he can't come play ball with them.
- Alexander fooling around with the toothpaste, dentist chair, and tray during his dental appointment.
- The shoe storeman turning down Alexander's alternate choice of sneakers (green ones).
- Dad unfairly punishes Alexander for playing with the copying machine and knocking the books off his desk by making him sit on the couch for a timeout.
D. Four good things were added to the special to show the audience that even a bad day can have some good in it:
- Alexander’s mom yelled, “Alexander, I’m giving you exactly 2 minutes to get down here.”
- Anthony and Nick making up for what they did to Alexander while waiting for Mom to pick up the car.
- Mom finding Alexander's favorite yo-yo in the closet while turning out the closet light.
- Before the special closes out to the credits, Timothy changes his mind and sleeps with Alexander while Alexander is telling us how Mom says everybody has bad days, even those in Australia.
E. Although mentioned, we don't see the following bad things in the special.
- Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair
- The family eating lima beans for dinner.
- Alexander watching kissing on television.
- Alexander's bath making the evening worse for him.
F.The special also included three original songs:
- "So much to do, so little time in the morning"
- "If I could be the only child"
- "I've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day"
In 1998, Viorst and the Kennedy Center joined together to turn the book into a musical production. Charles Strouse wrote the music, Viorst wrote the script and lyrics, and the musical score was composed by Shelly Markham. The productions have been performed around the country.
Other characters in the play are Audrey, Becky and many others.
In 2004, a stage adaptation was run at the B Street Theatre.
In 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox had plans to make a live action film adaptation of the book. Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Rob Lieber, the film was set to be directed by Cholodenko, and produced by Shawn Levy with Dan Levine for Levy's 21 Laps, and Lisa Henson with Jason Lust for The Jim Henson Company. Steve Carell has joined in April 2012, to star as Ben, Alexander's dad. In October 2012, Walt Disney Pictures has picked up the project, reportedly due to Fox being "uncomfortable with the budget." In February 2013, Deadline reported that Cholodenko has left the project, and a month later, that Miguel Arteta was in talks with Disney to replace Cholodenko. In April 2013, Jennifer Garner was in talks to play Alexander's mom. In June 2013, The Walt Disney Studios set the release date for October 10, 2014, and confirmed that Carell and Garner will play Alexander's parents.
Alexander and his two older brothers, Anthony and Nick, are based on Viorst's own three sons of the same names.
The phrase "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad . . ." has become an Internet meme, often used by bloggers, and sometimes by mainstream media, to criticize, or characterize setbacks for, an individual or political movement.
- The Kennedy Center (2007). "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". The Kennedy Center. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Scott Bernarde (2007). "I resolve to forget fishing in 2007". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Mary-Liz Shaw (2007). "Grandmother learns lesson in flexibility". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Laurel Graeber (October 24, 2003). "Just One Of Those Days". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Hispania News (2006). "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Hispania News. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Sneider, Jeff (May 3, 2011). "Cholodenko in talks for Fox's Alexander". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Flemink, Mike (April 9, 2012). "Steve Carell Circling Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Fleming, Mike (October 20, 2012). "Disney Picks Up Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Fleming, Mike (September 27, 2012). "Fox Puts In Turnaround Steve Carell-Starrer Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Fleming, Mike (February 22, 2013). "Lisa Cholodenko Exits ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’". Deadline. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Fleming, Mike (March 13, 2013). "Miguel Arteta Will Helm Disney’s ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ With Steve Carell". Deadline. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Flemink, Mike (April 25, 2013). "Jennifer Garner Joining Steve Carell In ‘Alexander And The No Good, Very Bad Day’". Deadline. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "More Disney Release Dates: Two New Marvel Pics, ‘Alexander’, ‘Hundred-Foot Journey’, ‘Into The Woods’, ‘Planes’ Sequel Slotted". Deadline. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Patrick Gavin (2013-05-16). "Obama’s week? ‘Horrible, no good’". Retrieved 2013-05-16.