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The Bad Mood and the Stick

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,341 ratings  ·  292 reviews
Lemony Snicket sheds light on the way bad moods come and go.
Once there was a bad mood and a stick. The stick appeared when a tree dropped it. Where did the bad mood come from? Who picked up the stick? And where is the bad mood off to now? You never know what is going to happen.
ebook, 40 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published October 3rd 2017)
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Julian BLOWER no, this book is not related to a series of unfortunate events.

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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  1,341 ratings  ·  292 reviews

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Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picturebooks
NOPE. A white man walks into a cleaning business and demands labor of a brown woman (his pants are muddy and he wants them cleaned). She explicitly tells him no and to LITERALLY keep his pants on, but he doesn't care at all and demands she do this work for him regardless. She finally gives in, and then becomes charmed by him in his underwear (??), then they get married (????). This is XO, OX-level BS. ...more
An angry man walks into a dry cleaner with muddy pants. Against the dry cleaner's wishes, he takes off his pants, then chats her up. They fall in love and get married. Odd. ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
I like the idea, a bad mood is passed on, how true. I really like the bad mood cloud, very cute, the illustrations are skilful and interesting, 5 stars for those. The storyline was interesting and we both read this one independently and it kept us engaged and wanting to know what happens. If the scene about a man needing to wash his overalls wasn't included (other reviewers have gone over these issues) I think we would have rated this highly. I don't know why this was included. I can see several ...more
Jessica Furtado
As many other reviewers have noted, the problematic interaction between Old Man Lou and the dry cleaner Mrs. Durham really ruins this book. It wasn't a terribly engaging or inventive book to begin with, but when Lou takes off his pants after Mrs. Durham tells him not to, and she then finds it endearing rather than mortifying, that really did it for me. I don't think that this book will appeal to children or adults. The story is a bit confusing for kiddos, and most parents will be irked by the dr ...more
First off, this book just doesn't make any sense to me. People get in a better mood once something nasty happens? What?

But the real, glaring issue is that an incredibly rude man takes off his pants after a woman tells him not to and she somehow is won over by his underwear clad body and marries him? What??

Another picture book where people seem to gloss over the effed up message and just see the funny...except I don't see the funny. At least with XO, OX: A Love Story I could see what people like
Aliza Werner
Jan 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: wsra-2018
What?!😳 So much is problematic in this PB that I don't know where to begin. The worst? A white, angry man walks into a dry cleaning business, demands a woman of color who owns the place "take that pencil outta your ear...wash these pants and wash them quick", drops his pants...and she falls in love with him. So much NO. ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books

“Holy moly!”

I love what Lemony Snicket brings to the picture book world. His quirky, weird, wonderful stories add something different to the lessons and sweetness for kids. BUT his humor walks a fine, fine line between imaginative and strange. A line that makes him stand out from the crowd. A line that I adore him for! If he gets it right. The unpredictability is part of the Snicket magic though.

“You never know what is going to happen.”

The Bad Mood and the Stick shows how a bad mood can travel
Nov 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Somehow all the journal reviews of this book missed the jolly take on sexual harassment and disregarding consent--no doesn't mean no. In fact, when you take off your pants in front of a woman and she sees your underpants, she's happy and not mad and she falls in love and you get married and everyone else is happy too. This book is some 1950s train-wreck published in 2017. I can't even. Is Harvey Weinstein ghostwriting as Lemony Snickett? ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this funny tale of how a bad mood is passed around, and all the things that made people happy again. Matthew Forsythe's art was the perfect companion.


Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Nov 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-lit
Problematic read (thanks to Books for Littles for naming what was bothering me): not only does this book seem to say one can only feel better if they foist their bad mood off on someone else, there's a really horrifying bit where a white man takes off his pants in front of a woman of color -- who tells him not to -- and they later marry. I know it's supposed to be cutesy, but in this moment where we're discussing sexual assault and harassment, that scene just felt like evidence of how insidiousl ...more
Jillian Heise
Aug 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picbooks
I do not understand how this is a book for children. When a White man goes into a dry cleaner owned by a Black woman and drops his muddy pants (after she explicitly expresses not to) and then while he's there in his underwear she doesn't get into a bad mood, but instead falls in love with him and three years later marries him. What message is this sending to kids? Why was it published? That element takes away from any message it might have about getting rid of bad moods - not to mention the bad ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not Sure... Maybe Readers Who Enjoy Picture-Books with a Transgressive Sense of Humor
A stick falls from a tree. A little girl walks around in a bad mood, as represented by the dark cloud hanging over her. Then the girl finds the stick, pokes her brother, and feels better. The mood and stick continue to be passed around, traveling from one person to the next in unexpected ways because, as the narrator continually tells us, you never know what is going to happen...

Humor is transgressive. It is also completely idiosyncratic. I would imagine that some people will find the scene in w
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
This book was iffy for me even tho I was super excited for this
The Library Lady
There is a mean spirited streak in some of the picture books I've read in recent years. I can't blame The Fake President a.k.a. IQ-45, because this nastiness goes back toThis is Not My Hat and probably even further still. It isn't snarkiness. Snarkiness I can handle. It's meanness, sheer and simple.

Now I freely admit I've never been into Lemony Snicket. (My new assistant loves his books, and she also loves Fancy Nancy, but she's a great girl, and I hired her anyway.) But even if I didn't know wh
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Great illustrations; they set the right tone. The story missed the mark for me. I get what it was trying to do, and I like what it was trying to do... but it just didn't quite get there. I think it could help a kiddo in a bad mood see that the bad mood will move on eventually, but I hope they would try to kick their bad mood out the door instead of passing it on to someone. ...more
Laura Harrison
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to revise my initial review. Every time I read The Bad Mood and the Stick I like it more and more. It is clever, unusual and pretty honest. The illustrations are illuminous, creative and just plain old stunning. The illustrator's bio says he was in a bad mood the entire time he was making the pictures. I find that hilarious! A different and beautiful book. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a goofy and surrealist story about how the two titular objects affect a variety of people, animals, and events. The illustrations are very cool and have a fun, retro quality. As many others have noted in the reviews, there is some rather unfortunate modelling of behavior among the adult characters--so I'll just let you read the multiple reviews that already explore this in more detail. ...more
The pages about the guy taking his pants off do send a disturbing message to kids, yes. If that happened to me, I would have called the police. Someone should probably have a chat with Mr. Snicket.

I still laughed out loud a time or two and I do enjoy the artwork.
May 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books, wtf
Wow... I can't say there are a lot of picture books that I've hated, but this is definitely one of them. Dude walks into a cleaner's shop and takes all his clothes off after the lady there specifically tells him not to? Who thought that was a good idea?!?! And THEN they get married?! Wtf. ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was so weird. Nothing made sense. There's no reason why it would take a bad mood to make everything right (as the book jacket suggests). Especially when it involves a sister poking her younger brother with a stick (after not getting ice cream), or an old dude stripping down to his tighty-whiteys and ordering a woman, in her place of business, to wash his pants immediately. No thanks. Plus, that poor cat, who didn't do anything, got stuck with the bad mood. And I don't even know what was rea ...more
Quirky and silly. Adults will roll their eyes but kids will roar at the bad mood bubble, the mud puddle, and the underwear.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
Odd story. Not a fan of the dry cleaner incident. I agree with a lot of the other reviewers of this book.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, kiddo
Charming. Went looking for Maurice Sendak at the library and this was nearby. Yay!
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
The illustrations were gorgeous but I wasn't really compelled by the storyline
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a unique little story with some humor, some great meta touches and a curious soft focus art style. I can’t help that I am stuck on the fact that Mrs. Durham falls in love with Lou when she sees him in his undies.
Nov 13, 2017 added it
I️ felt pretty weird about the man taking his pants off, the dry cleaner asking him to put them back on, him refusing, and her thinking that was fine. I️ guess reading this the same week the Louis C.K. allegations finally broke was bad timing, but all the alarm bells went off in my brain.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I like the concept of this book, and the art.

However the idea that anyone is going to be happy about an old white dude coming into their place of business and taking off his pants, (and then later marry him?!) is pretty insane.
I like this. I get the criticism, but I also relate to how a bad mood can affect you and the people around you throughout your day. I love Matt Forsythe's illustrations. I think if you read it one-on-one with a child there's a lot of fodder for conversation about social and emotional learning. ...more
Josephine Sorrell
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brady
Clever, unusual and honest
This is a cute and funny book. Who doesn't understand that traveling/ shared bad mood? The poor stick was just along for the ride. The art is charming and evocative, especially of the moods. I think kids will think it's funny and perhaps it can start some good conversations about moods.
HOWEVER, there is a small element to the story that just bothers me more the longer I think about it. Among the various mood-altering calamities that happen, a (white) man gets his pants dirty. He goes to a dry cl
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Not easy to overlook dry cleaner storyline 2 7 Dec 10, 2017 08:07PM  

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Lemony Snicket had an unusual education and a perplexing youth and now endures a despondent adulthood. His previous published works include the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer is Dead, and 13 Words. His new series is All The Wrong Questions.

For A Series of Unfortunate Events:

For All The Wrong Questions:

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