Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever

by Judith Viorst
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Alternate title: Alexander and the Mediocre, Ho-Hum, Not-Very-Good sequel. The pictures are fine; Isidre Mones definitely produces pictures “in the style of Ray Cruz,” as advertised on the cover. The family is clearly Alexander’s, though our hero is in color this time. Maybe it’s because I never had to fight that impulse to be bad / never had brothers / am not a boy, but this book just didn’t quite have the charm that the other Alexander books have, though it is funny in parts. (Alexander is legendary in my family; we still talk about Australia as a mythical-type land that cures all woes.) He doesn’t even seem to learn anything in the end, even a little bit; he makes it barely a week (as his wise father foresees) before he just gives up; his brothers taunt him and are not reprimanded; there’s no repetition or long run-on sentences like in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Viorst has had some hits in recent years like the Lulu series but this one will not, I fear, be joining the ranks. It seems the Alexander ship has sailed, sadly.

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