Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” as Want to Read:
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  155,679 Ratings  ·  2,422 Reviews
The perennially popular tale of Alexander's worst day is a storybook that belongs on every child's bookshelf.

Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.

And it got worse...

His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!

This handsome n
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 15th 1987 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published June 16th 1972)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Popular Answered Questions
Cacelia Moore The reason he got in trouble because his brother tripped him and then Alexander tried to punch his brother but, when his mom came with the car his mom…moreThe reason he got in trouble because his brother tripped him and then Alexander tried to punch his brother but, when his mom came with the car his mom thought that Alexander was being mean to his brothers.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Burned in my brain forever. First, because of the wonderful list of descriptors in the title, repeated throughout the story. I must have hit it at the right time in language development, because it stuck in my mind. I think I used that phrase "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," for a couple of decades, usually in jest or as a way of mocking my drama. Second, because it was the first library book I ever lost. I'm pretty sure I was freaked out, but I remember the librarians as being nicel ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
My son and I adore this book! It is a wonderful story about a kid who is really having a tough time. Maybe he should move to Australia? The artwork is wonderful. This is the PERFECT book for kids who are feeling the blues and need a bit of perspective. Fantastic.
Robin Hobb
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids
Who hasn't had this sort of a day? For Alexander, it starts out bad and just gets worse and worse.

A great book to share with a kid who gets frustrated when 'everything seems to go wrong for me!'

I love the illustrations in this, the simple situations gone bad, and Alexander's very real reactions to them.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book in 1989. Well, my parents bought it for me. There's a half-peeled-off sticker that says, MY BOOK in red bubble/block lettering with "Philip" scrawled on the name line. I was in first grade.

I loved this book as a kid.

I read it tonight to my daughters for the first time. I'm pretty sure they didn't understand the message that everybody has bad days, no matter where you are, but it was fun reading to them - all tucked in and what not.

It was a nice piece of nostalgia for me, as we
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read dozens of Judith Viorst's books....(my kids had most of them)....
A new book is coming out soon! Sounds wonderful!

Great books to give the grandchildren) .... (Lisi & Jan)...............

This review is in honor of *Jan*....who's daughter is having her first baby today!!!!!

Congratulations, JAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My candle is glowing honor of the new Bambino!!!!

Sooooooooooo Happy for you 'grandma'!
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the all-time classics. I loved this one as a kid, and I love it all the more as a grown-up reading it to my boys.

I'm dimly aware they made a movie based on the book, though I have no idea why.

If you watched the movie and haven't read this book, I fear you're done yourself a great injustice. Please consider picking up the book. It's well worth your time.

May 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"Some days are like that... Even in Australia."

This is one of those books that has so many levels (like a parfait, or an onion). It begs for multiple readings. On one level it is the story of Alexander, an ordinary kid whose day doesn't go as he wants it to. Yet it is also a treatise on the human condition - our selfishness and self-centeredness, the travails and hardships that assail each person's life, and the resolute courage needed to stand our ground and live our lives where we find ourselv
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Not so much for preschool because it's a more formulated story and it's in black and white, but my 5 yr old loves it. About a boy who just has a bad day, something any kid can relate to. A great story.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (whew what a title) is a children’s book by Judith Viorst along with illustrations by Ray Cruz and it is about how a young boy named Alexander who ends up having a terrible day. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is truly one of the most memorable books ever created!

I have clearly enjoyed this book as Judith Viorst has done a great job at writing this book and Ray Cruz’s illustrations also contribute greatl
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-children, humor
My oldest son loved this book when he was younger. I must have read it a hundred times to him!
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books ever. In middle school, I used it as a monologue to audition for a part. I got it because the director had never heard of it and thought it was hilarious. It wasn't hard to get right, either, as it's easy to whine and pout and act angry.

I hear there's a movie coming out which is odd. I have no idea what they'll do because there's not enough plot here to fill a short, but just in case, I recommend you read it now before you hear anything about any film. Form your own imp
Christine Berger
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I know this is a beloved classic, but I just didn't care for it. I think my kid just takes it literally, that this boy is having a bad day and nothing is fair, and sympathizes with him. But from an adult's perspective, he's an obnoxious little whiner who resorts to saying mean things and hitting, plus he does a lot of blaming his mom for things that don't go right ("guess whose mom forgot dessert?") which sets a disrespectful example. I think by the time a kid gets old enough for the intended me ...more
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite childhood books because somedays are like that...even in Australia!
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Gosh, when I was a kid, I remember this book being awesome, but reading it again as an adult was just ok. I don't think my kid was overly impressed with it either.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Maria by: Teachers in my first elementary school.
This picturebook is famous among teachers. The story is about a naughty boy who describes how his day went from morning to night time. Alexander, the youngest boy in the story, and the narrator as well, had to endure bad incidents in school, at the dentist office, with his brothers and mom while shopping for shoes, at his Dad’s office, and back at home. I have to admit there is humor in all these bad things happening to this boy throughout the day. I connect to the story because I have two boys ...more
Eslam Mohammed
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
ONLY 32 pages but if well-passionately written it will count as 300,

Have you ever had a bad day?,silly formula,OK after rephrasing Have you ever had your just share of bad days,and mostly the horrible ,terrible ones?,,,

How did you handle the whole situation?, What about your family and friends?, Did they participate in alleviating the burden,or as usual added their own vicious touch?

Alexander told us,shared his own misfortunes and disappointments from childish vivid humorous perspective,which ga
Truly the best children's book out there.... I first read this book when I was in elementary school and since then have read it multiple times to my children, the children I babysat and today to my mentee, a fifth grader who had never heard of the book before I mentioned it. I will never forget the day I walked into my Chemistry class quoting "I'm having a terrible, horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and have my partner finish it with me.... Kindred spirits. I use this phrase on those days when li ...more
➸ Gwen de Sade
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I bought this for my little brother (4) because I'm religiously stalking Patrick Rothfuss' children's book reviews. He's not just a great Author, he's also a real cute Daddy, btw.

The book itself is lovely, I highly recommend it. Can't wait to read it to my little Brothers.
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
i loved it as much as my kids did when i read it to them!
Kayla Gallup
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Alexander believes that he is having such a terrible day that he coins the day a terrible, bad, no good, very bad day. A bunch of things go wrong and Alexander has a negative outlook on everything and believes everything would be in Australia. However, his mom reminds him and the reader that we all will have very terrible, bad days.
Alison Strandell
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is laugh out loud funny. Alexander has a hilariously rough day. We've all been there. There is repetition about the "grass being greener" in Australia, but even people in Australia have bad days, too. We love this book, and I can't wait to watch this movie with Vanessa when she is older.
Katie Rybakova
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my students presented this text and I reread it. I wanted to see the repetition. The moral is great, and it could be used in numerous grades to teach repetition. Would be an engaging project to have students rewrite with the same format about "the best day" or "the fun, amazing day."
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful introduction to pessimistic philosophy and nihilist literature for little ones.

I hadn't read this since I was a kid, but I knew what to expect. Alexander was going to have a bad day, but on the last page he would go to bed and dream sweet dreams and wake up to a better tomorrow. "It's okay to have bad days. We will have a better one tomorrow." That's not what I found; the ending shook me to my very core.

I cracked it open with my two year old son last night and to my surprise, even th
Oliver Radtke
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
I am reading “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” by Judith Viorst. The book is about a young boy named Alexander. His bad day starts when he wakes up with gum in his hair from when he was sleeping. Many bad things happened to this kid that makes it a bad day. Some examples are, not getting a toy from the cereal box, losing his best friend, not getting what he wanted in his lunch box, and he did not get the shoes with the stripe on it that he wanted.

I did not like this
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it

I read the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It was about a young boy named Alex who wakes up to a start of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! He didn't get the window seat on the way to school and forgot the number sixteen during counting time. It gets worse, his mom forgot to pack him a dessert and took them to the dentist after school. Alex learns that moving to Australia would not solve his problems. Every once in a while you just se
Jamala Alkeshi
Sep 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Okay, I did not like this book. I can sense that a lot of it is suppose to be humerous, but I didn't like the overall negative feeling the book has. Also I don't like how Alexander acts, I feel like he is setting a very bad example for children without a remedy. For example the reason why he was having a bad day is because he was having a bad attitude, and there was no mention of that, or moral to teach children that the way he was acting was wrong. Although I did not appreciate the content so m ...more
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Were you aware that people have terrible, horrible days in Australia? Anyone who rates this book as less than 5 stars is a TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, no good, very bad educator/parent. This is an essential book for children (boys and girls alike). It is the most remembered book of my childhood, and it's my children's favorite book as well. Teaches about feelings and how, as in life, some days are just crap. Children in my pre-k and Kindergarten classes LOVE this book and request it over and over again.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was one of my favorite books as a child. I loved listening to my mother read this story to me, and I loved reading it to myself. It seemed, back then, that any day I could possibly have would have to be better than poor Alexander's day. I wish that were still true, but I still enjoy picking this up from time to time. This is one of the few books that my mother kept for me in a box, waiting for the day that she would be gone and I would want that memory. Thanks, mom.
I think this book emphasizes just about every bad day we've all had. I originally heard it on one of the many episodes of Reading Rainbow I watched growing up. Although, I can probably appreciate it more now with how Murphy's Law has very much grown to love me on pretty much on a daily basis. A cute and fast read.
Alexander just knew it was going to be a horrible day when he woke up. He just wants to move to Timbuktu.

Daddy didn't like this book. It wasn't remarkable and we found it rather negative. While there is a message of how everyone has horrible days no matter where you live there was no positive focus.

We borrowed this book from the local library.

V @ 8 months old.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mentor Text Mini Lesson #5 Cause and Effect 1 1 Oct 22, 2017 12:32PM  
  • Sheila Rae, the Brave
  • Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle
  • King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush
  • Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
  • A Chair for My Mother
  • The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
  • There's a Nightmare in My Closet
  • Fred Stays With Me!
  • The Paper Bag Princess
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat
  • Leonardo, the Terrible Monster
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  • The Keeping Quilt
  • Swimmy
  • Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
Judith Viorst is the author of several works of fiction and non-fiction for children as well as adults. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, her most famous children's book, was first published in 1972 and has since sold over two million copies. Ms. Viorst received a B.A. in History from Rutgers University, and she is also a graduate of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institu ...more
More about Judith Viorst

Other books in the series

Alexander (4 books)
  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
  • Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move
  • Alexander, Who's Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
    $16.99 $1.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
“I think I'll move to Australia.” 64 likes
“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.” 42 likes
More quotes…