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Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday (Alexander)

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,055 Ratings  ·  300 Reviews

Last Sunday, Alexander's grandparents gave him a dollar -- and he was rich. There were so many things that he could do with all of that money!

He could buy as much gum as he wanted, or even a walkie-talkie, if he saved enough. But somehow the money began to disappear...

Readers of all ages will be delighted by this attractive new edition of Judith Viorst's beloved picture

Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 30th 1987 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published February 1st 1978)
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Mar 02, 2010 Aimee added it
Shelves: pbgs-2-picture
Alexander is given money from his grandparents and he thinks he is rich. He really wants to save up his money to buy something great, but his money begins to disappear quickly.

The illustrator in this book creates a space for the text at the top of the page and the illustration at the bottom of the page. The illustrator uses all black and white sketches throughout the entire book. These simple sketches with no color leave a need for very detailed pictures to get the emotion in the book. The illus
Jul 28, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in teaching kids the value of a dollar
Although this book is definitely dated (the 1979 illustrations of the family made me really nostalgic for childhoods watching "Family Ties" -- and I can't imagine any kids who would be able to make $1.00 buy anything, let alone several things, these days) the concept is one that is timeless and especially relevant in today's difficult economy. Alexander is given $1.00 from his grandparents--he WANTS to save it up to put toward a new radio, but somehow he just keeps on finding other things he wan ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Kjsmit11 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: smith-grades-3-5
This book is great to use as a read aloud to students in grades 3 or 4. This specific children's complex picture book may be too simple for children in the 5th grade. I like the fact that the book has multiple characters that are incorporated throughout. I think this book would interest all students and get them thinking about saving their own money that they have. The copyright of this book is older, but the story is something that children today can relate to. All children save money and spend ...more
Aug 09, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents
The best lesson I've ever read, to teach kids about:
* limited financial resources
* the benefits of controlling impulse
* the value of money

Beautiful in that it doesn't preach or tell, it demonstrates by example.

My son enjoys the story, and secretly picks up on the lessons...
John Kirk
Dec 20, 2011 John Kirk rated it it was ok
I like the idea of this book: it's intended to teach children the importance of saving rather than spending. Unfortunately, there are some problems with the execution. That's not really a criticism of the writer, but you need to be aware of the target audience.

Firstly, this is an American book, so all the references to cents/dollars/etc. will probably confuse a child in other countries (e.g. the UK). Similarly, there were some words that I didn't recognise ("lox") and other terms that aren't use
Christine Turner
Anthony has two dollars and three quarters and one dime and seven nickels and eighteen pennies. Nicholas has one dollar and two quarters and five dimes and five nickels and thirteen pennies.
Alexander has...bus tokens. And even when he's rich, pretty soon all he has is bus tokens.
He was rich. Last Sunday. Grandma Betty and Grandpa Louie came and gave Anthony and Nicholas and Alexander each a dollar. Alexander was saving his. Maybe for a walkie-talkie.
And then there was bubble gum, some bets with
Sep 30, 2015 Bsrusse1 rated it really liked it
I found this sequel to Viorst's "Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" rather entertaining since I remember reading that book as well as watching the animated version of the story when I was younger. I might not be the youngest in my family, but I can relate to Alexander even now as an adult, such as I had money one day then a few days later I'm broke again. Alexander has had his bad days and moments and so have we as an audience in our lives, so we can relate to that no matter what ...more
Sep 29, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
This is another classic book that I read as a child. It's funny and has some good lessons for kids about spending and saving. It's all in black and white so it may not be the most attention grabbing, but the illustrations are still well done and I love the facial expressions.

"Last Sunday, when I used to be rich, Cathy around the corner had a garage sale. I positively only went to look. I looked at a half-melted candle. I needed that candle. I looked at a bear with one eye. I needed that bear."
Kimberly Ehrlich
Jun 21, 2015 Kimberly Ehrlich rated it really liked it
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday can be used as a realistic fiction book in the classroom. It has merits in that genre particularly because students of a younger elementary age can directly relate to the premise of the story: getting money, spending it and having regret. It is very much a part of a young child's life to have to gain an understanding of the value of money and often it is done through trial and error. The Alexander series tends to put focus on the crummy feeling one gets ...more
Lauren Brink
Mar 31, 2015 Lauren Brink rated it liked it
This book is about a boy, Alexander, and how he is not good at saving money. When his grandparents came to visit they gave him and his two brothers all one dollar. While his brothers decided to save their dollar, Alexander ended up spending his dollar on bubblegum, a one eyed teddy bear, renting a snake, and paying his dad for bad things he did. In the beginning Alexander wanted to save to buy walkie-talkies and later on his brothers nag at him that he will never be able to save his money. I thi ...more
Megan Cureton
Alexander used to be rich, which was a dollar. The temptation to spend his money was harder than ever, and he just had to have some gum. He counted how much he had left and decided to buy a few more things, until he realized he was out of money, but still had some bus tokens. I thought this book was very funny and kept me laughing the whole way though. I can relate this book to many children, even myself, because saving money is so hard! This book is very relatable, and I would read this book al ...more
Dannita Stanley
Mar 08, 2015 Dannita Stanley rated it liked it
This book was cute and I immediately started thinking financial literacy and economics. In the fifth grade, students have to learn financial literacy and I thought this book would be a good introductory book to share with the students regarding savings.

I know students have experience with being given money and making decisions on how to spend it, which makes this a book that students can definitely connect with. They can also make several types of connections with the relationship of Alexander
Apr 15, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: math
This was a cute book, it is about Alexander who receives a dollar from his grandparents and his first plan is to save it but instead he spends it all and is only left with some bus tokens. This is a great book for learning about the concept of money. I would use fake coins to express how many of each coins makes up a dollar and could expand the lesson by creating a class store and having the students buy items that would add up to be a dollar.
Mar 03, 2016 Dawn rated it it was amazing

I love this story. My students could totally relate to the problem of wanting to buy stuff the minute you have money in your pocket. When he talks about how hard it is to save your money there was lots of nodding in agreement.

The interactions with Alexander's brothers made everyone giggle a little.

After a few minutes, however, someone did suddenly have a light bulb moment about how inexpensive things are in this story! He can buy a lot just with $1! And who even uses pennies anymore? We don't! I
Aug 23, 2008 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, 2008, math, money
Shows how quickly a windfall can disappear. It's on a micro-scale in this story, but the lesson holds true universally. Good story to introduce fiscal responsibility to kids. We really enjoyed reading this book together and I will be sure to look for more books by Judith Viorst at our local library.
Tayler Bingham
Jul 20, 2015 Tayler Bingham rated it really liked it
Viorst, Judith. "Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday." Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print. This is the story of a young kid named Alexander who used to be rich last Sunday. his grandparents came last Sunday and gave him money. Unfortunately, Alexander goes ahead and spends all that money, which he realizes at the end, were not very good investments. All he has left are bus tokens. This book really only has black and white illustrations, helping the reader focus more on the text and the moral ...more
Ka Youa
This book is about a boy called Alexander who used to be rich. His grandparents came to visit them and each time they visit the family, they gave the children a dollar. Alexander thought he was rich. He was being told by his parents that if he saved his money, he could get his walkie talkie. However, Alexander has trouble saving money. At first he buys some chewing gum, makes losing bets with his brothers, and then spends the rest of the money on useless things. Soon his money is all gone. At th ...more
Ciara Plackett
Feb 18, 2015 Ciara Plackett rated it really liked it
Personal reaction:
My first thought after reading this book, is that it would be perfect for teaching a math lesson on money. I think that this was a fun book to read and a lot of kids would enjoy it. The problem I have with this book is that it was written in 1978, so the amount of money and what things cost is pretty different than today, so it may be a little confusing to kids. However, I think that will be something that I can address.

I would read this book and do a lesson on money a
Dec 09, 2014 Morgan rated it really liked it
The well-known Alexander has another misadventure in this book. His distinct voice retells a week which starts with a whole dollar from his grandparents. He badly wants a transistor radio, but instead of saving his money, his dollar slowly disappears as it goes to bubble gum, renting a friends snake, a number of bets, and the cracks in the floorboards. The author does a great job of telling this story the way Alex would tell it, and drawing out small details. Many children can relate to his stru ...more
Stephen Lyons
Aug 26, 2014 Stephen Lyons rated it really liked it
Shelves: 00-in-class
This book reminded me of my childhood. As a child every time I visited my great grandparents they would give me money to do whatever I pleased. Of course, I thought that $5.00 was a lot of money at the time, but in this book Alexander receives a dollar and this shows the generation difference. I think it's cool to see how the generations change, children in elementary school's now would rather have a smart phone or Ipad than a walkie-talkie. I think that it would be good to read this to my futur ...more
Roslyn Ross
Aug 08, 2016 Roslyn Ross rated it did not like it
This book was a nice idea, but terribly executed. If the point is that, a little at a time, one can spend his entire fortune, there should be a tally on every page so kids can follow his spending and SEE the little-by-little spending in concrete (picture) form, and how it adds up.

The nice-idea-poorly-executed aside, this book is horrid, basically a how-to manual for being mean. And it acts like this behavior is normal, in addition to the other appalling behavior like gambling, parents fining chi
Tracy Mercier
This book really helped us understand how adding and subtracting well helps us spend our money smartly.
Tami Roberts
Nov 06, 2009 Tami Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb-same-artist
K - 3rd (Read Aloud/Silent Reading)
Ray Cruz used black and white cross hatching to illustrate this story. The illustrations in this book are very similar to those of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, with slightly more detail to the eyes and more negative space, less attention to the scenes in this book. Cruz focused a lot more on the facial expression to tell the story with his illustrations. Judith Viorst, again, uses untraditional punctuation placement and repetit
Alexa Maring
Apr 11, 2011 Alexa Maring rated it it was amazing
Instant gratitfication is one thing Alexander is good at, but this effects his ability to save for things he really wants! Use this story to teach students about delayed gratification and the pros to waiting. Students will see through Alexander that acting upon impulsive desires can lead to being unhappy in the end. Use this as an introduction to adding and subtracting money, as well as introducing savings accounts. When I was younger, my mom used to hold the majority of my birthday money and pu ...more
Britt D.
Jul 17, 2012 Britt D. rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun and silly. After reading the book to my students I will discuss what a general budget looks like. I will model creating a budget for my students, and then have them create their very own budget based on a scenario I give them. The scenario/word problem will be:
--You make $10.00 a week for allowance.
--$3.00 a week goes to bills (you take you little brother for an afterschool snack on Fridays.)
--You donate $2.00 a week to a charity at school
--You use $3.00 a week for fu
Gail Lebeter
Alexander's brothers are rich. Alexander used to be rich last Sunday. Now he has...bus tokens. His grandparents came to visit last weekend and gave each brother a dollar. Alexander thought about saving his, but after some bubble gum, bets with his brothers, a garage sale, and other "must haves," he only has...bus tokens. Soon he begins to realize that some "needs" are really "wants" and that if he isn't careful, he's always going to end up with a pocket full of bus tokens.

What a
Alexander's grandparents came to visit one Sunday. They gave Alexander and his two brothers each one dollar. Instead of saving, Alexander decides to spend his money on things like a melted candle, a teddy bear with one eye, he rented his friend's snake for one hour, and paid for other things that he really did not need. His dad also fined him when he did or said things that he shouldn't have. He keeps spending and losing money until he is left with two bus tokens. Then he reflects back to
Oct 18, 2011 Taneka rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Alexander's grandparents come to visit and give money to Alexander and his two brothers. Alexander wants to save his money to buy walkie-talkies, but he can't seems to keep it in his pocket. He just has to have a bear with one eye, candy from Pearson's Drug Store, and a half melted candle, amongst other things. In the end, he is left with two bus tokens.

Young people will be able to relate to Alexander, especially if they like to spend money on things they want. The content is realistic. There i
Sarah Sammis
Jul 22, 2012 Sarah Sammis rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Sean
I read the first of Judith Viorst's Alexander books to my son when he was an infant. He went on to discover other books in the series. His most recent discovery is Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.

The book opens with Alexander lamenting the fact that he has no money. As the story unwinds, he explains why he has no money. Since last Sunday he has spent his money on all sorts of frivolous things.

As the book was written in the late 1970s, the amount of money has on Sunday is quite small. C
Aug 26, 2014 Jenne rated it really liked it
Shelves: 00-in-class
I enjoyed this book because not only did it include counting money in an intriguing way, but it also incorporated rich family interactions. Trying to save your money is not always the easiest thing, and I think this book does a good job in a humorous way to show how money can be spent. This would be a good book to read to the class and be able to have the students participate in a discussion on what they would spend their dollar on.
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MCC Children's Li...: Alexander, Who Used to Be rich Last Sunday- Challice 1 1 Apr 04, 2012 07:03PM  
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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 and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • 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

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