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

illus. by Isidre Monés. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481423533; ebk. ISBN 9781481423540. LC 2013047674.
K-Gr 2—Another winner about mischievous Alexander, who this time is trying to be the Best Boy Ever after his latest disastrous escapade: eating a whole box of doughnuts. "Consequences" follow—he has to stay in his room all day on Saturday, with no electronics or TV, and he suffers a ferocious stomachache for his greediness. After an exhausting seven days of striving mightily to be the BBE (with varying results), he wakes up on Saturday, doubting that he can continue his angelic behavior forever and succumbs to another box of doughnuts. The illustrations follow original artist Roy Cruz's art perfectly, humorously portraying Alexander's struggles with his worst self. Viorst's text is right on target as usual, hilariously describing the boy's thoughts: "I'm thinking how much I love eating jelly doughnuts. And I'm thinking how much I hate having consequences. And I'm thinking I hate those consequences much, much, much, much more than I love doughnuts." On Sunday he thinks, "Everyone's still asleep, and I'm still walking around on tiptoes. But it's lonesome….And I'm thinking that if I went out the front door and rang the doorbell five, six, seven times, no one would be sleeping anymore." Kids will surely identify with Alexander's trials and tribulations—either in a group situation or at home with a long-suffering parent, who will probably get a kick out of the book, too!—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
After Alexander gets sick from too many doughnuts, he vows to become an exemplary child. His attempts produce unbeknownst-to-him humor ("I use my napkin to wipe my mouth, not blow my nose"), but even fans of Alexander (of terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day fame) will find this story somewhat draggy. With his mostly black-and-white illustrations "in the style of Ray Cruz," Monés makes Alexander look like a believably imperfect kid.

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