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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Paperback – July 15, 1987

4.5 out of 5 stars 972 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Alexander Series

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."

So begin the trials and tribulations of the irascible Alexander, who has been earning the sympathy of readers since 1972. People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad. As Alexander's day progresses, he faces a barrage of bummers worthy of a country- western song: getting smushed in the middle seat of the car, a dessertless lunch sack, a cavity at the dentist's office, stripeless sneakers, witnessing kissing on television, and being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He resolves several times to move to Australia.

Judith Viorst flawlessly and humorously captures a child's testy temperament, rendering Alexander sympathetic rather than whiny. Our hero's gum-styled hair and peevish countenance are artfully depicted by Ray Cruz's illustrations. An ALA Notable Book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a great antidote to bad days everywhere, sure to put a smile on even the crabbiest of faces. (Ages 5 to 9) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Objecting loudly to his family's plans to relocate, the hero of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day "makes a gratifying return," said PW. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 970L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586691139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590421447
  • ASIN: 0689711735
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (972 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The reviewers who criticize the main character's negative tone or run-on sentences, or the lack of a cutesy, make-it-all-better ending, are missing the point of this story. The "voice" of the book is precisely why we love it so much.

Alexander is a real boy--warts and all. When real kids are upset, they pour it all out in a rapid stream of words (and to heck with grammar!)--and of course, everything feels like the end of the world to them at that moment. Judith Viorst captures that very well.

We can relate because Alexander's life is like real life--lots of seemingly minor stressors can add up to one really rotten day; and because it isn't just one problem, there isn't a neat, tidy resolution at the end. In fact, in and of themselves, none of these things are really "problems"--just stuff you have to put up with sometimes. But when it all hits at once, it feels awful.

I think we've all had days like Alexander's: the alarm doesn't go off so you run out of the house late and with "bad hair," you spill coffee on your white blouse (or new tie) just before the big meeting with the boss, you snag your nylons (or lose a button), the pop machine in the breakroom eats your money, you end up having to work overtime, so when you get out to the car you find a parking ticket because you forgot to feed the meter, and then at home, dinner burns on the stove and the kids are fighting! So at the end of it all you collapse in a heap and momentarily consider running away--FAR away. Maybe even Australia! And (adding insult to injury) nobody else seems to care or empathize, because all of these things are just little petty annoyances.
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Format: Paperback
Though I wouldn't necessarily admit this to anyone over about 3 feet tall, I must say this is my all time favorite book bar none. I read it as a child and found myself instantly relating to Alexander and distinctly remember feeling pleased that someone...anyone...else had the capacity to blow a day full of minor irratations out of proportion so dramatically. Now, as a preschool teacher I love it yet more because not only do the children have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, but when they do, so too do I. I find myself reading the book out loud with so much drama and emphasis that it is emensely cathartic for all of us! I adore this book and firmly believe that every human on the planet would benefit from dramatic readings of it from time to time.
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Format: Paperback
I first had this book read to me as a child, and it stuck with me throughout life. I would always remember that anyone can have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (even in Australia). In fact, sometimes I still tell people that I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and it someone flickers with recognition, then all is well in the world!

Contrary to what some reviewers say, this is not a depressing book. It's one to keep on the shelf and re-read any day things aren't going right. It has a wonderful message and is beautifully illustrated.

This is a timeless classic. Adults and children will enjoy the experience.
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Format: Hardcover
Ever have a day when absolutely nothing went right? Haven't we all? That's probably why so many children fall in love with this book; we've all been there, even the very young ones, so they can relate just like we grownups can. From the first mishap in the early morning when he wakes up with last night's chewed gum stuck in his hair, to the final indignity of being rejected by the cat (who wants to sleep with his brother Anthony, not with him), with umpteen mishaps and misfortunes in between (lima beans for supper? Yuck. Kissing on TV? Double-yuck!), Alexander's day just gets worse and worse. If you had a day like that, wouldn't you want to hop the first jet to Australia? Judith Viorst has an uncanny knack for being able to put herself in a five-year-old's shoes, and her book lets kids know that their feelings are valid and normal. And at the book's end, Alexander -- and the youngsters -- realize that days like that are bound to happen, even in Australia.

This is a great read-aloud book; the kids usually end up chanting (or shouting) along with the reader "It was a TERRIBLE!! HORRIBLE!! NO!! GOOD!! VERY!! BAD!! DAY!!" and Ray Cruz's pen and ink drawings are a delight and add to the fun. I've read this book to several first-graders and each one of them clamored for a repeat. This is one book that belongs on every child's bookshelf and will probably be treasured for years to come.

Judy Lind
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Format: Paperback
This book was recently read to my kindergarten sunday school class. While I was listening along with the children, I just had to crack a smile. I've had plenty of days just like Alexander. As a college student, days like this are normal occurances, but it wasn't until I read this book that I realized how much I can blow things out of perspective. Just like in the story, my bad days often begin with my bad attitude while getting out of bed. I truly believe that this book is absolutely essential for everyone to read. If you're not having a bad day, then great...but if you are, it'll definitely put a smile on your face and help put things back in proportion. Just a reminder that good advice for everyone can come from anywhere, even a children's story book.
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