A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Alexander, Who's Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever can serve as a spur to discussions about behavior. And, as with all books that are kid friendly and funny, it can help develop literacy.
Try to control your impulses, do things that are helpful to others, and don't make others upset.
Positive Role Models
Alexander is extremely human. All kids have impulses to do things they "shouldn't," and kids will recognize themselves and their own struggles in Alexander's story.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alexander, Who's Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever is a sequel to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good,Very Bad Day, which was an instant classic when it came out in 1972. Author Judith Viorst hit the zeitgeist, and the book remains immensely popular. This is the third sequel and is illustrated by Isidre Monés in the style of the original. The books get their appeal by depicting a very real boy with refreshingly honest feelings, who tells his first-person story in a funny, rambling, kid-like voice. In this book, after getting both a bellyache and "consequences" for scarfing down an entire box of jelly doughnuts, Alexander resolves to be "the best boy ever for the complete and entire rest of my life" -- and manages to do so (mostly) for a full week. Alexander's in elementary school, and this book has more text than most books for preschoolers.
Is It Any Good?
The book has plenty of trademark Viorst humor, along with very recognizable kid characters, and can serve as a spur toward family discussions about behavior. Because Viorst allows Alexander to tell his own story in a credible kid's voice, the Alexander stories have more text than many picture books. This one's longer than the original and isn't punctuated by any shorter, rhythmic, repeated refrains. It does have a helpful, humanistic message for kids: People aren't perfect, and if you try to be, you'll make yourself miserable.
But is either/or the only solution? Is it helpful to think of doing something difficult for the entire rest of one's life? A kid might think so, and that can be funny.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.