It Could Always Be Worse is a Yiddish folk tale about a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a one-room hut.
It Could Always Be Worse is a 1977 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, and a 1978 Caldecott Honor Book.
Once upon a time a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a one-room hut.
Because they were so crowded, the children often fought and the man and his wife argued. When the poor man was unable to stand it any longer, he ran to the Rabbi for help.
As he follows the Rabbi’s unlikely advice, the poor man’s life goes from bad to worse, with increasingly uproarious results.
In his little hut, silly calamity follows foolish catastrophe, all memorably depicted in full-color illustrations that are both funnier and lovelier than any this distinguished artist has done in the past.
About the Author:
Margot Zemach (1931-89) was born in Los Angeles, California. She began illustrating stories by her husband, Harve, in 1959, and their subsequent collaborations led to many enduring children’s books, and is a recipient of the Caldecott Medal.
A Few Reviews:
“A wise rabbi doles out surprising advice to a man complaining of overcrowded quarters in this Yiddish folktale; Zemach’s exuberantly chaotic illustrations earned her a Caldecott Honor.” — Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“The familiar tale of the simple villager whose house was so crowded and noisy, he went to the Rabbi for help. . .Never has the tale been made into a picture book of such beauty and gusto.” ―Starred, The Horn Book
“This was my favorite book as a child. My dad would read it with different voices and it was the best! I was born with a disability and have been through a lot of surgeries and I find that as a grown adult, I’m constantly muttering to myself “It could always be worse”. It sounds silly to say, but this book has had a tremendously positive impact on my entire life! However, it’s a good story for EVERYONE, even if your life is mostly void of struggles.” — Amazon Reviewer McGillicuddy
“Why are there not six stars? I love this book. The drawings are darling and the story is good for the whole family. I bought it to help one of my children stop complaining so much about how so-and-so has it better. It turns out that I am being blessed by the perspective in the book as well! The father in the book is given instructions by his rabbi that make his life increasingly terrible, but ultimately the man learns that our comfort and appreciation is often relative. By focusing on how good we have it compared to how bad it could be, it is easy to see life’s blessings.” — Amazon Reviewer MightyMighty