Absolutely Positively Alexander: The Complete Stories

Book review by
Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media
Absolutely Positively Alexander: The Complete Stories Book Poster Image
Anyone who's ever had a bad day will love this.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Alexander tells his ex-best friend, "I hope you sit on a tack." Teasing and name-calling between the brothers.

Violence & Scariness

Alexander gets into a fight with his brother and kicks him.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are a few incidents of mild violence, but certainly nothing graphic: an angry Alexander kicks his brother in a fight and hopes his friend sits on a tack. Still, young children will get more than a few laughs from Alexander's humorous narration. The illustrations are black and white, bold, and descriptive.

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What's the story?

Sometimes, bad things happen--and they happen to Alexander a lot! First, he has a really rotten day, then he gets rich for a day but ends up with just bus tokens, and finally his parents make him move to a new house. Anyone who's ever had a day they'd rather forget will love this cleverly illustrated, laugh-out-loud trilogy.


Is it any good?

Alexander's adventures are as fun to read aloud as they are to listen to. Just about any elementary school-age child, at one time or another, has had at least one horrible day, has misspent money that should have been saved, and was forced to do something against his or her will -- like a move to a new house. And these stories are written from the viewpoint of a young boy who endures it all.

The illustrations, by Ray Cruz and Robin Preiss Glasser, are black-on-white, cross-hatched line drawings with remarkable realism and detail that capture Alexander's emotions and serve the stories' humorous themes well. When they were read to a group of 6- to 8-year-olds, it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the adult reader or the audience of giggling kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether these stories, the oldest of which was written more than 30 years ago, have stood the test of time. Is Alexander a character you can relate to? Why or why not? Which of the stories is your favorite? Why?

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