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



Kids will love this account of a boy's bad day.

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that children will laugh at Alexander's situation in this simple story with humorous 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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Judith Viorst
Illustrator:Ray Cruz
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1972
Number of pages:32

This review of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byDrCool June 6, 2012

Best Alexander book EVAR!

This book is hilarious! I really LOLed at the part where he says "I think i'll move to Australia".I love this book SOOO much!
Educator and Parent Written bycrazyking January 25, 2015


i want to tell the manager that we cant see movies info when we stand over titles like Positive messages,Violence and Sex that is happing sence 3 weeks i think
Teen, 13 years old Written bymrbookworm01 November 2, 2011

Good book for young kids

I read this book to 2 little kids at school and I think it's just fine for young kids. It's amusing and has a positive message in understanding that bad days happen to everyone and it's a part of life. Good for kids 6+
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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