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

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  6,200 Ratings  ·  312 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
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
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
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."
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.
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.
Tracy Mercier
This book really helped us understand how adding and subtracting well helps us spend our money smartly.
Samantha Rojas
Nov 27, 2016 Samantha Rojas rated it it was amazing
I chose “Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday” as my Concept Book. This book would be appropriate for 1st-3rd graders. Alexander wanted to save his money to buy a walkie-talkie, but he found other things to spend his money on. All Alexander has now is… bus tokens. There is no content in this book that would be inappropriate for readers. You could use this book as an introduction to learning coin value.
Rebecca Lewitt
Oct 29, 2016 Rebecca Lewitt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
A very funny book and one that provides parents with a low key and humorous way to address spending and saving habits for children.
good story that also tied a math lesson into it.
Alexis Munk
Oct 16, 2016 Alexis Munk rated it really liked it
This is a very funny book. Elementary school children can also use it as a math substance. I think this book is honestly great to use for all elementary school ages and grades.
Oct 09, 2016 Morgan added it
Shelves: picture-books
Great story for children who can keep a lot of information in their heads at one time. It was a progressive story line that kept you locked in at all times. I really enjoyed the character of Alexander! This book is sort of dated for today's society but could definitely still be an awesome read aloud.
Jodi Vines
Alexander speaks to my soul. He spends money the way that I do, and the way we need to be taught not to!
Kaitlyn Powell
Sep 24, 2016 Kaitlyn Powell rated it liked it
Shelves: el-230
This book is based around the idea of money and the difference between spending it or saving it. I think the ideas behind this book are great for a classroom lesson, but the book itself is very outdated. The book was published over 30 years ago so the kids would have a hard time relating to it in some parts.
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
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
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
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
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
Alexander's adventures in bad days continue with Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, in which Alexander only has bus tokens, while his brothers have money. While the prices are dated, since the book came out in 1978, children are going to understand Alexander's trouble saving money—and his desire to spend it.

This book is perfect for a unit on managing money. Spending his money on candy, making bad bets with his family, and fun experiences with no lasting reward; Alexander's spender's rem
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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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