The target age for this story is 3 to 6. It is told from a first-person point of view. A little boy wakes up grumpy. He doesn’t like anything he has to eat, do, or wear. “But I had to.” At school he dislikes his picture, his blocks fall down, and another child mocks his shoes. On the way home he falls in the mud. At home he can’t find his car, soup is too hot, pudding is the wrong flavor, and the dog eats his apple. He is forced to take a bath and wear itchy pajamas. He protests when the wrong cartoon comes on television and his mother says it’s time for bed. Here, the story takes a sudden twist. Mother reads a new book to him, which he loves. He falls asleep and has a beautiful dream. (I guess the pajamas stop itching.) He wakes up the next day with a smile.
While the message of the story is quite clear, I think it is overdone. For the entire day the child sees nothing positive. It is a sweet concept that his bedtime story is the best part of his day. Unfortunately, the child’s relentless negativity does not engage the reader or arouse his sympathy. Anne Rockwell may want the take-away to be that no matter how bad things get, good things are around the corner and even if you don’t like what’s happening, you still have to do it. I don’t see how this does much to help a child with a negative or demanding attitude. With a lot of input from an adult, this story could be a catalyst for conversation on how to cope with things you don’t like.
Illustrations are bright, chunky pastels or crayon drawings. They are simple and realistic enough for children of this age group.
A suitable book for children aged 3 to 6, although I think there are probably better ones on this topic.