Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Book review by
Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Book Poster Image
Kids will love this account of a boy's bad day.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The account of Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is told from the first-person perspective, allowing readers to better relate with the different situations he encounters. Despite all the trouble Alexander goes through, his courage and resolve get him through the difficult day. The book assures readers that there's always tomorrow if today is not going their way and that attitude is everything when it comes to tackling frustrating obstacles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alexander, clearly not having the best of days, eventually gets through it and realizes that some days are good and some are bad. Although he does not deal with these obstacles in the best way, readers can take this as a lesson in the importance of a good attitude and how it can turn an entire bad day/situation around.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that children will laugh at Alexander's situation in this simple story with funny narration. The illustrations are bold and expressive. Alexander's bad day is a widely relatable circumstance that will allow readers to feel like they are not alone.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRecessGymClass2 December 5, 2016

I love this book so much, and the other Alexander books as well.

However, this one is my favorite.

I grew up reading Alexander books, this one was always my favorite. Every time I had a bad day, I always read this book. It w... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 18, 2021

Wow, Poor kid.

This book was read to me when I was about 3. I always thought it as hilarious, funny, and weird. But when I read it now I thought, Wow, The poor kid is actually... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCan'tPickAUser March 6, 2020

Great book, but DANG

I love this book, and I feel like the lesson it's supposed to teach is great to learn. BUT.
I don't know if it's just me, but I cannot read this... Continue reading

What's the story?

What a day! Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair and trips on his skateboard. His mom forgets to put dessert in his lunch box, and his dentist finds a cavity! Anyone who's ever had a day they'd rather forget will love this cleverly illustrated, laugh-out-loud account of one boy's day of misfortune.


Is it any good?

Alexander's day may be awful for him, but it is pure enjoyment for 5- to 9-year-olds. ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY scores high on the reality meter; just about any school-age child has had at least one terrible, horrible day. As a bedtime read for any kid who has just had one of those days, this one's a winner--it's almost guaranteed to chase away the blues. When it was read to a group of 5- and 6-year-olds, it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the adult reader or the audience of giggling kids.

The plot, though simple, presents an interesting take on everyday childhood problems. The text is written in a conversational style from the viewpoint of a young boy, so it's by far more entertainment than English lesson. Ray Cruz's black-and-white line drawings lend themselves well to the story's mood. Cruz has an undeniable knack for realism, and he captures Alexander's emotions wonderfully.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bad days. Kids: Have you had a bad day recently? What made it so awful? Were you able to cheer yourself up? After a few days had passed, did that day seem so awful after all? How do you cope with a terrible day?

Book details

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