Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Picture Book, Reading



“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

Carpool, school, friendship and then feeling leftout, no dessert in his lunch bag like everyone else, a dental appointment where a cavity was found were just part of the many things that Alexander experienced that gave him this “no good, very bad day.”  The more Alexander experienced, the more things around him gave him these “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” feelings.  At bedtime, his mom reminds him that “some days are like that.”   I heartily agree.  Yes, they are!

This is a good book to help children know that not every day is wonderful.  They can see that they are not the only ones who have some bad days, but they can also learn to look for the good in a day.  It has been over forty years since this book was first published, continuing to remind us that we will have days that just don’t go as we had hoped or expected.  It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, where we live, or who we are or who we are not; we just might have a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day(s).”

Ray Cruz, the illustrator, drew detailed scenes using pen and black ink contrasting on white paper.  Alexander’s facial expressions and his moods focus the reader’s attention on his latest predicament with each turn of the page.

Reading Level: 5 – 8 Years

Judith Viorst is an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher.  She is a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults, as well as books for both groups.  She has also written musicals which have been performed around the country.  She graduated from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University.  She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband of 54 years, Milton Viorst, a political writer.
More about Judith Viorst can be found at

Ray Cruz is the illustrator and an author.  Little is known of Mr. Cruz, but you can check out the many books he has illustrated as well as the ones he has written at

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780689711732
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/15/1987 (original publication date 1972)
  • Series: Alexander Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.52 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Originally, I reviewed this in August, 2014.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Poetry, Reading

A GIRAFFE AND A HALF by Shel Silverstein — 50th Anniversary Edition

3534942If you had a giraffe and he stretched another half . . . you would have a giraffe and a half.

And if you glued a rose to the tip of his nose . . .

And . . . if he put on a shoe and then stepped in some glue . .

And if he used a chair to comb his hair . . .

And so it goes until . . . .

A rhyming, silly book that is fifty years old this year, first published in 1964.  It is still a favorite and a great read-aloud.  It is filled with funny situations, mostly ones that probably never could happen except in one’s imagination (and seen in a book), but they are so fun and so laughable.

Shel Silverstein’s is the artist as well and has drawn wonderful black line drawings on white paper that dance with the rhyming words on every page.  This fiftieth anniversary edition has the original cover art from 1964.

Zany.  Goofy.  Fun!  You can’t help but love this silly book and the giraffe which gets into all kinds of crazy situations.

Reading Level: 4 – 8 Years

Shel Silverstein is the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
He served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea in the ’50s and drew cartoons for Stars and Stripes, the American military publication.   He also wrote several songs.  His country-western song “A Boy Named Sue” was a hit for Johnny Cash in 1969.  His song for Postcards From the Edge, “I’m Checkin’ Out,” was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.   Shel Silverstein was born September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, and died on May 10, 1999.  He is remembered in all the smiles he put on our faces as we read his many books which include Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?, and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back.  His more serious but wonderful book is The Giving Tree.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780060256555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/4/1964
  • Edition description: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

2869037_origOriginally reviewed May, 2014 on first blog site.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Poetry, Reading


4843940A Family of Poems – My Favorite Poetry for Children is an especially fine collection of poetry.  Caroline was raised with poems.  She was encouraged to write them, to illustrate them, to choose a favorite poem and use it in a birthday card.  “If our parents read to us as children, we remember the closeness of the moments together, the sound and power of voice and expression, the sense of wonder that a poem inspires,” said Caroline Kennedy as she shared thoughts about piecing this anthology together.  Ms. Kennedy wrote the introduction for the entire book and then for each of the seven sections.  She includes memories from her childhood, the importance of poetry in her life, along with thoughts about the power of reading together.

This book has over 100 poems from well-known authors  (A.A. Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack Prelutsky, Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, Carl Sandberg, William Shakespeare) two poems by her mother, and poetry from the Bible.  These poems are placed into sections reflecting a child’s world: About Me, That’s So Silly, Animals, The Seasons, The Seashore, Adventure, and Bedtime.

A sampling:

  • About Me:“‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • That’s So Silly:“Happiness” by A. A. Milne and Today is Very Boring” by Jack Prelutsky
  • Animals:“The Porcupine” by Ogden Nash and “The Crocodile” by Lewis Carroll
  • Seasons:“Ecclesiastes 3:1-8” Holy Bible, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth
  • Seashore:“Sea Joy” by Jacqueline Bouvier and “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” by e.e. cummings
  • Adventure:  “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” by Edward Lear and “Goblin Feet” by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Bedtime:“Sweet and Low” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket” by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

There is a Table of Contents and an Index for finding just the poem you need for any given moment.  Near the end, the poems that were not written in English to begin with are written in their original language, making it rather enjoyable to read when you know one or more of these languages or if you are up for learning a poem in its native tongue.

The illustrations are outstanding and beautifully dance with each poem.  Jon J Muth is an exceptional artist, binding each poem with a painting or drawing, making this anthology such a delight to read and share.

Reading Level:  4 – 12 Years

New York Times best-seller

Caroline Kennedy is the editor of eight New York Times bestselling books on American history, politics, constitutional law and poetry, including She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems and A Family of Poems.  She is the Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and has this book for sale on the site @   Ms. Kennedy is also the United States Ambassador to Japan.  Her experience working with the New York City schools has shown her “how poetry can connect us to each other in new and powerful ways.”  

Jon J Muth is the author and artist of the New York Times best-seller and Caldecott Honor book, Zen Shorts.  He has illustrated many award-winning books.  Jon can be found @
“Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I drew and drew and drew and drew, and painted. Drawing was my way of making things exist which didn’t exist. And writing became a way to have my drawings interact. My mother was an art teacher and she took me to visit museums all over the United States. I studied painting, drawing and printmaking in several schools here and in Europe.”   

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780786851119
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Originally reviewed on first blog site March, 2014.