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Sideways Stories from Wayside School

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There was a terrible mistake - Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.


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There was a terrible mistake - Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.

30 review for Sideways Stories from Wayside School

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    If you want to see exactly what rests at the center of someone’s soul, don’t bother reading a 200-page biography on them; ask them what was the first book ever to make an impression on them that lasted into their adulthood. For some it might be some garbage about a brat named Ramona and her ginger-kid friends, and these people embrace a passion for whimsy and camaraderie. Others have a deep-rooted sense of ‘self’ from cherishing the trails and tribulations of some chick named Margaret menstruati If you want to see exactly what rests at the center of someone’s soul, don’t bother reading a 200-page biography on them; ask them what was the first book ever to make an impression on them that lasted into their adulthood. For some it might be some garbage about a brat named Ramona and her ginger-kid friends, and these people embrace a passion for whimsy and camaraderie. Others have a deep-rooted sense of ‘self’ from cherishing the trails and tribulations of some chick named Margaret menstruating and masturbating. Those who would grow up to be truly unexceptional enjoyed those 10-page “Mr. Man” books (mr happy, mr bump, mr greedy) which always delivered some pointless life lesson about sharing, caring, or other similar nonsense. And then there are those who were destined to be influenced by the outrageous, ridiculous, and sublime, and their rallying point is the fantastic cast of Wayside School. I’m sure each character has their own loyal following of obedient acolytes who have championed their cause and tried emulating their idol throughout their life; most would probably be fond of Todd, the luckless but genuinely lovable rapscallion who is dismissed from class for his antics every day, the [email protected] crowd related to Bebe Gunn, the dreamers prefer Sharie , the ambitious geeks decry the greatness of Myron, the optimists swear DJ had the right attitude while the misanthropes defer to Kathy’s wisdom, and the goofballs and flucktards of the world were torn between Stephen and Jenny. The people supporting anyone else are usually living in their parents’ basement currently and getting geeked on paint thinner or spending their time volunteering for charitable causes or running for public office. But there is the unsung hero that none can forget, easily the linchpin of the story and the single most inspiring, enigmatic, and culturally relevant character ever introduced in ANY book; Sammy. That’s right, Sammy; the grimy, filthy, stinking, and baffling dead rat that tries infiltrating Mrs. Jewls class while posing as a student and wearing multiple raincoats that reek of decay and alley-trash. He trash talks the entire class, he befouls their atmosphere with his pungent stench, and threatens to bite the teachers head off for discarding his ‘good clothes’ as she throws raincoat after raincoat out the window. Sammy stands proud in the midst of his admonishment, laughing at those who think he might actually give a damn about their concerns or opinions, and is ultimately banished to the basement to live with the other dead rats; presumably where they hatch their nefarious plans to somehow attend class. Are they doing it just to cause a commotion? Are the legitimately interested in garnering some education? Could this be their own rite of passage in their social circles? Sammy’s puzzling nature keeps us guessing, pondering these questions without conclusion. Compared to the iconic students attending Wayside, the kids at Hogwarts don’t compare, Ramona and her ilk look flimsy and pathetic, and the Choose Your Own Adventure books seem predictable and without shock compared to the zany irreverence displayed in these Sideways Stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the only chapter book I've read to my class this year that has caused them to demand more chapters, beg for a quick chapter here and there throughout the day and I've even had to re-read several chapters to them. There is just something about absurdity mixed with keen observations of school days reality that gets kids every time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rashwan

    كتاب ساخر يحوي ثلاثين قصة تدور أحداثها حول الطلاب و المعلمين في مدرسة غريبة بنيت بطريقة خاطئة .. في البداية يقول الكاتب "أن المدرسة كان يفترض أن تبنى على طابق واحد يحوى ثلاثين فصلاً ممتدة على نسق واحد، بيد أن المدرسة بنيت بثلاثين طابقاً، في كل طابق فصل دراسي واحد،و قد أعتذر المهندس عن الخطأ الذي أرتكبه في بناء المدرسة"! القصص بالطبع تحوى الكثير من الفانتازيا في أطار ساخر ، بعض القصص كانت جميلة و ذات مغزى و نجحت في رسم الأبتسامة، لكن معظم القصص كانت تبدو ساذجة إلى حد بعيد و خالية من أي مضمون أو فك كتاب ساخر يحوي ثلاثين قصة تدور أحداثها حول الطلاب و المعلمين في مدرسة غريبة بنيت بطريقة خاطئة .. في البداية يقول الكاتب "أن المدرسة كان يفترض أن تبنى على طابق واحد يحوى ثلاثين فصلاً ممتدة على نسق واحد، بيد أن المدرسة بنيت بثلاثين طابقاً، في كل طابق فصل دراسي واحد،و قد أعتذر المهندس عن الخطأ الذي أرتكبه في بناء المدرسة"! القصص بالطبع تحوى الكثير من الفانتازيا في أطار ساخر ، بعض القصص كانت جميلة و ذات مغزى و نجحت في رسم الأبتسامة، لكن معظم القصص كانت تبدو ساذجة إلى حد بعيد و خالية من أي مضمون أو فكر جديد بشكل عام الكتاب مسلي، و معظم القصص لا تتجاوز الصفحتان و بالتالي يسهل قراءتها كفاصل قصير بين روايتان أو كتابان من النوع الذي يتطلب مساحة أكبر من التركيز

  4. 5 out of 5

    دعاء ممدوح

    مجموعة من القصص الهزلية تدور حول طلاب أحد الفصول في مدرسة غريبة، يغلب على القصص الطابع الكوميدي الساخر و الفانتازيا الشديدة، أعجبتني بعض القصص لكن معظم القصص كانت بلا هدف واضح و لم أخرج منها بأي جديد

  5. 5 out of 5

    j

    There is no 19th story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    We pulled this unassuming little book out of my husband’s childhood bookshelf over Thanksgiving break (my in-laws seriously never get rid of anything) and we had absolutely no idea what kind of wonderful craziness lay waiting for us inside. We had been reading The Phantom Tollbooth…but I kind of sort of accidentally/on purpose left it at home. Listen, I’m not saying The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t a brilliant book…with the wit and the puns and the wit and the plays on perspective and the…wit…and the… We pulled this unassuming little book out of my husband’s childhood bookshelf over Thanksgiving break (my in-laws seriously never get rid of anything) and we had absolutely no idea what kind of wonderful craziness lay waiting for us inside. We had been reading The Phantom Tollbooth…but I kind of sort of accidentally/on purpose left it at home. Listen, I’m not saying The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t a brilliant book…with the wit and the puns and the wit and the plays on perspective and the…wit…and the…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Seriously, there’s a point where you just want to throw up your hands and scream, “oh my god Norton Juster, not everything in this world has to MEAN SOMETHING!!!” Enter Sideways Stories From Wayside School. Wayside School was accidentally built thirty stories high. It’s a place where students get transformed into apples, where they’re encouraged to sleep through class, where that new kid in a stinky raincoat is much more insidious than he outwardly appears. It’s a place where people flavored ice-cream is made and enjoyed (except the Kathy flavored one – that curmudgeon will never change), where no substitute teacher is ever to be trusted, and where “you don’t need a reason to be happy.” It’s a place of absurd humor that never speaks down to the intelligence of a child. It’s a place that made both of my daughters (and myself) completely engaged in story time. I think I enjoyed reading these out loud just as much as they enjoyed hearing them. It’s a place that almost never has to mean anything at all, but that occasionally does in surprisingly brilliant ways. This is the one and only book that my daughter has begged and pleaded to take to bed with her so she could keep reading it. We gave her the sequels for Christmas and she immediately pulled one out and wanted to read it right away. (It ended up being the third one, but it almost made more sense to read these out of order.) Life has pretty much been kicking my ass lately, and reading these stories out loud to my girls at night has been the best stress reliever. It’s not every author who will challenge one to attempt a “French donkey with tonsillitis” voice. But of course I had to try.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I remember loving this book at some point during my childhood. Re-reading it as an adult confirms that I was a very strange child. What an awesomely weird book! Teachers turning into apples and being eaten by recess monitors! Dead rats in raincoats passing as ornery new students! One particularly bizarre, hilarious passage: "In Mrs. Jewls' class there were three children named Eric: Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens. They were known throughout the school for being fat. Eric Fry sat at this end I remember loving this book at some point during my childhood. Re-reading it as an adult confirms that I was a very strange child. What an awesomely weird book! Teachers turning into apples and being eaten by recess monitors! Dead rats in raincoats passing as ornery new students! One particularly bizarre, hilarious passage: "In Mrs. Jewls' class there were three children named Eric: Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens. They were known throughout the school for being fat. Eric Fry sat at this end of the room. Eric Bacon sat in the middle of the room. And Eric Ovens sat at that end of the room. There was a joke around Wayside that if all three Erics were even in the same end of the room at the same time, the whole school would tip over. Eric Bacon hated jokes like that. That was not surprising. After all, he wasn't even fat. In fact, he was the skinniest kid in Mrs. Jewl's class. But nobody seemed to notice. The other two Erics were fat, and so everyone just thought that all Erics were fat. 'But I'm not fat!' Eric Bacon insisted. 'What's your name?' asked Jason. 'Eric," said Eric Bacon. 'Then you're fat,' Jason concluded. Another favorite: "Dameon had hazel eyes with a little black dot in the middle of each of them. The dots were called pupils. So was Dameon. He was a pupil in Mrs. Jewl's class."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    My 7 & 10 year old daughters laughed heartily throughout much of this read, but I think I missed the window. The humor didn't quite make it to my thirtieth story. No offense to Louis Sachar, but I just kept thinking. . . when is it going to turn into a Roald Dahl novel? It never did.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    These wacky absurd stories which may seem irreverent and sometimes mean-spirited to adults really seem to resonate with children. These stories were immediately attention grabbing for my kids and left them begging for more. The humor makes sense to the kids and they enjoyed the absolute absurdity and upside-down-ness of this school and it’s rules. Wayside school was accidentally built 30 stories high and is leaning. Each chapter tells the reader about one student in the 30th story classroom. Thei These wacky absurd stories which may seem irreverent and sometimes mean-spirited to adults really seem to resonate with children. These stories were immediately attention grabbing for my kids and left them begging for more. The humor makes sense to the kids and they enjoyed the absolute absurdity and upside-down-ness of this school and it’s rules. Wayside school was accidentally built 30 stories high and is leaning. Each chapter tells the reader about one student in the 30th story classroom. Their old teacher, Mrs. Gorf, used to turn the children into apples, but she got turned into an apple herself and now they have a new teacher, Mrs. Jewls. Mrs. Jewl whispers to one of the students that “children are really smarter than their teachers,” a fact that was already known to the students. One student can only read upside down and is told he must learn to stand on his head. Another student arranges to sell her “useless” toes to the yard teacher, however, when she is not getting the full price she originally bargained for, the deal is off. When the children laugh, the walls laugh with them and turn purple. The author, Louis Sachar, has written himself into this book as the yard teacher whom the children see at recess. He features in nearly every chapter, and takes part in the absurdity of the Wayside School practices. This was a fun easy read that was very engaging for my children. The best part of the book, is that within each wacky weird story is a real nugget of truth, something both adults and kids can very much connect with. For discussion questions, please see: http://www.book-chatter.com/?p=3057.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Oh Louis Sachar you are such a gifted children’s writer. I’ve loved all of your books (from the social injustice of Holes to the touching There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom). But the Wayside School books will always have a special place in my heart as the funniest and goofiest. Sachar uses a lot of puns, wordplay, and zany situations and that’s probably why as an adult my most favorite type of humor is irony with a little bit of absurdity. Here is a taste: “Dana had four beautiful eyes. She wor Oh Louis Sachar you are such a gifted children’s writer. I’ve loved all of your books (from the social injustice of Holes to the touching There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom). But the Wayside School books will always have a special place in my heart as the funniest and goofiest. Sachar uses a lot of puns, wordplay, and zany situations and that’s probably why as an adult my most favorite type of humor is irony with a little bit of absurdity. Here is a taste: “Dana had four beautiful eyes. She wore glasses. But her eyes were so beautiful that the glasses only made her prettier. With two eyes she was pretty. With four eyes she was beautiful. With six eyes she would have been even more beautiful. And if she had a hundred eyes, why, she would have been the most beautiful creature in the world” (51). He shows such insight into the logic of children and you see this motley cast of characters evoking recess justice, showing Eric discrimination, being selfish or disrespectful, or being kind. Todd is one of my favorites because he’s such a nice kid but has bad luck and always has to go home early on the kindergarten bus. I wish I knew kids like these, even Kathy who tastes a little bit like old bologna or Sammy who is actually a dead rat. Before you read any of the other Wayside School books, it's essential you read this collection because you are introduced to each and every kid in class and you also learn how Mrs. Jewels becomes their beloved teacher. And apparently Louis the Yard Teacher is indeed Louis Sachar so Sachar has a red face and mustache of many colors and gets punched in the stomach a lot. I also learned that “When two plus two doesn’t equal four, anything can happen” (120). I bet this was a 1984 reference that I did not get when I was nine. If you don’t enjoy this book, you can “take a train, peanut brain”.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Prashant

    This was my reaction when I realized that I have not forgotten to pack this book for my Mumbai trip. And this was my expression throughout the period when I was reading the book. I had so many expectations from it and maybe that led to the epic fall. I so wanted to like it. I wanted another Wimpy Kid in my kitty on which I can fall back on whenever I need. But this is no Wimpy Kid, oh hell, it sucks as intensely as the Fudge kid in Fudge-a-mania. Here are some drudgery tales served on a please-lik This was my reaction when I realized that I have not forgotten to pack this book for my Mumbai trip. And this was my expression throughout the period when I was reading the book. I had so many expectations from it and maybe that led to the epic fall. I so wanted to like it. I wanted another Wimpy Kid in my kitty on which I can fall back on whenever I need. But this is no Wimpy Kid, oh hell, it sucks as intensely as the Fudge kid in Fudge-a-mania. Here are some drudgery tales served on a please-like-me-i-am-so-cute plot and it sucks right from the word GO!. Don't waste your time with this when you have much better stuff lying out there. And now a note for Louis Sachar I already have Holes and Small Steps waiting in my shelf. If they suck as much as this one, I am sure going to cut your bald head.

  12. 4 out of 5

    George Jankovic

    This is a script for a play, not a book. It's a super cute fantasy story happening in a school where very strange things happen. For kids ages 8-11. Enjoy!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    My fourth-grade homeroom teacher read this to our class, only she substituted names of the students and teachers in the book with the names of the students in our class (I was Leslie -- how I remember that, I have no idea) and the other teachers in our grade. Hilarity ensued, I assure you. A lot of my elementary school teachers liked reading to their homeroom classes during downtime, and I always loved it. This book stands out as one of my all-time favourite read-to-me-books, probably because of My fourth-grade homeroom teacher read this to our class, only she substituted names of the students and teachers in the book with the names of the students in our class (I was Leslie -- how I remember that, I have no idea) and the other teachers in our grade. Hilarity ensued, I assure you. A lot of my elementary school teachers liked reading to their homeroom classes during downtime, and I always loved it. This book stands out as one of my all-time favourite read-to-me-books, probably because of my teacher's spin on it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paolo

    This isn't a review of Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School.What this is the mysterious set of events that surrounded a particular copy of this book that I found in a little neighbourhood library in Baltimore. Or rather, a particular copy of this book that found me. It happened innocently enough. I was picking out books that other libraries in the system needed from my branch. A daily task. A mundane work day. I reached out to pick out Marley: Marley Learns a Lesson, when another b This isn't a review of Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School.What this is the mysterious set of events that surrounded a particular copy of this book that I found in a little neighbourhood library in Baltimore. Or rather, a particular copy of this book that found me. It happened innocently enough. I was picking out books that other libraries in the system needed from my branch. A daily task. A mundane work day. I reached out to pick out Marley: Marley Learns a Lesson, when another book tumbled straight down to land squarely on my right foot. I picked it up and recognized that yellow font and Miss Gorf's wicked grin. Memories of libraries past flooded into my head, and I was too giddy with nostalgia to realize how conveniently it just landed into my lap. I read the entire book, which was shorter than I remembered, during the rest of the day. It was surprisingly terrifying when one processes some of the weird happenings within the confines of Wayside School. Where did Ms. Jewel find ice-cream that tastes like her students? Who gave Miss Gorf her teaching licence? HOW DID THAT DEAD RAT PUT ON CLOTHES?! Many questions were left unanswered in this slim anthology. But I dutifully read through all thirty stories and enjoyed them all, questionable it as they were. As I started to put the book away, I remembered to mark it "used" in our system, because having statistics pays the bills in a public library! I placed it under the watchful eye of the scanner."Item not found in Catalog."Odd, I thought. It bore all the marks of a well-loved library book: it had the unique barcode each and every tome had in the system; it had the stamps and seals of the library that held it; hell, it even had water stains and bite marks of toddlers past who mistook the book for a teat! I tried it again. "Item not found in Catalog."And again."Item not found in Catalog."My eyes narrowed. Again."Item not found in Catalog."I scoured each and every page looking for any hints of a joke. Was this some prank? Again."Item not found in Catalog."I looked for the written number that used to identify these books before the barcode system was in place."Item not found in Catalog."I tried the ISBN, the title, and even furiously typed in Louis Sachar in the database. I looked through each copy the entire library had in every branch throughout the city. I had to admit defeat."Item not found in Catalog."The book I had in my hand did not exist. I handed the book over to my supervisor, who handed it over to the ladies of the Circulation desk to file away for tomorrow. They checked it too, and they got the same message. We'll add it back to the collection tomorrow, they said. Sometimes, when a book's discarded because it's too old or too shelfworn to be circulated, it's sold off by the library, they said. Sometimes, and this does happen, they forget that it's a book that was sold to them, and return it to the library! Isn't that funny, they said. Yeah, it's pretty funny. The library was closing for the night, and when I walked past front desk to retrieve my belongings from the back offices, I stared at the book. Miss Gorf's cheeky smirk was more menacing to me now than it had ever been in my twenty-something years of being a reader. It was then I knew.It didn't want to be sold. It didn't want to be forgotten.It wanted to be found...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pink

    January 20, Chapter 1 I think Mrs.Gorf is a really mean teacher, because she turned her students into an apple, when they did nothing wrong. January 27 , Chapter 2 Mrs. Jewls is a kind teacher, she thinks that her students are terribly cute. And she plans to give them a banana, because she thought that they look like a monkey. February 3, Chapter 3 Joe is a boy who can't count properly.I think it's funny when he can only count backwards, but will still get the correct answer when Mr's Jewls ask him q January 20, Chapter 1 I think Mrs.Gorf is a really mean teacher, because she turned her students into an apple, when they did nothing wrong. January 27 , Chapter 2 Mrs. Jewls is a kind teacher, she thinks that her students are terribly cute. And she plans to give them a banana, because she thought that they look like a monkey. February 3, Chapter 3 Joe is a boy who can't count properly.I think it's funny when he can only count backwards, but will still get the correct answer when Mr's Jewls ask him questions. February 10, Chapter 4 I think Sharie needs to sleep more at home, not at school, because while she was sleeping she rolled out of the classroom's window. She fell from the 30th floor, but the PE teacher caught her just in time. Februay 17, Chapter 5 I think Todd is a smart boy, because he save his classmates from the 2 robbers Februay 24, Chapter 6 I really enjoyed reading this chapter because, Bebe and Calvin had a great team work March 3, Chapter 7 I think this chapter was very funny because, Calvin was ask to delivered a note to Mrs. Zarves on the 19th floor, but there was no 19th floor at Wayside School March 10, Chaper 8 I think Myron is very kind because he save his classmate dog that got hit by a car March 24, Chapter 9 Maurecia is a girl who eats icecream all the time, even during class time. I like her because she can eat icecream all the time, and not scared to get fat. March 31, Chapter 10 Dana has too many mosquito bites. She can't even concentrate during class time, because it itches. Mrs. Jewls help Dana by turning her mosquito bites into numbers April 21, Chapter 11 Jason is a boy who likes to chew gums. One day his gum stuck on his pants and he couldn't get out of his chair. With the help of his friend Joy he got out of the chair.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Blanca

    Louis Sachar was unwittingly my primer for my love of absurdist and magical realism literature. In my 5th grade English class, we read this book and I remember there was nothing we were more collectively excited about except maybe that mock presidential campaign where Michael Dukakis won by a landslide in the halls of George Washington Carver- Anson Jones Elementary, if nowhere else in the country. Our enthusiasm for the wacky capers of the students and the yard teacher inspired a class project Louis Sachar was unwittingly my primer for my love of absurdist and magical realism literature. In my 5th grade English class, we read this book and I remember there was nothing we were more collectively excited about except maybe that mock presidential campaign where Michael Dukakis won by a landslide in the halls of George Washington Carver- Anson Jones Elementary, if nowhere else in the country. Our enthusiasm for the wacky capers of the students and the yard teacher inspired a class project where all of us wrote a story loosely based on the students in our class at a magical school. The finished project was sent to Mr. Louis Sachar. I vaguely remember he sent a letter saying how he enjoyed the book. Maybe he was so impressed by those kids in Texas that inspired his move years later to Austin where he penned that hit, Holes and currently lives. I have yet to run into him. When I do, I'm totally having him sign my book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    Upon the recommendation of an enthusiastic 3rd grader in my grandson’s class, I checked out his most favorite book from this year – “Sideways Stories From Wayside School”. Two other kids concurred so that was enough for me to finally read what was also a favorite of several students I had as an elementary librarian. So away I went with a copy from their library. Surprisingly, I have mixed feelings for this book that the kids find so hilarious. It’s a different kind of humor that is just wacky, ir Upon the recommendation of an enthusiastic 3rd grader in my grandson’s class, I checked out his most favorite book from this year – “Sideways Stories From Wayside School”. Two other kids concurred so that was enough for me to finally read what was also a favorite of several students I had as an elementary librarian. So away I went with a copy from their library. Surprisingly, I have mixed feelings for this book that the kids find so hilarious. It’s a different kind of humor that is just wacky, irreverent (not in a religious way), and sometimes-plain mean. The only chapter that I actually chuckled at was #24 ‘Dameon’. (That’s the one I will tell the student that I really liked. He will be thrilled that I cared enough to share his favorite book.) I do like the clever way the book is written, with each chapter starring a different class member. But even though I usually have no problem reading a book with the viewpoint of a kid, the adult in me has trouble justifying the humor verses meanness. I don’t think it’s a harmful book, so I would not tell a kid to not read it, but I certainly won’t give it as a gift either! (I’d rather give “Holes”, by the same author.) In the end, I am happy that the kids who love this book are so enthusiastic about it. To them it is exciting and funny, and they want to read more. If a book does that – then go for it kids!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jed L

    I picked up this book again because I was reminded of it while reading Catch-22. Sideways stories was one of my favorite books growing up as a kid and I think it set me up to enjoy Catch-22 as well. Sideways Stories is eccentrically funny, but also surprisingly deep in symbolism and metaphor. The premise of the book is a school built sideways--that is 30 stories high instead of 30 classrooms longs. There are 30 chapters and each chapter is about a certain character. Some of these chapters are ju I picked up this book again because I was reminded of it while reading Catch-22. Sideways stories was one of my favorite books growing up as a kid and I think it set me up to enjoy Catch-22 as well. Sideways Stories is eccentrically funny, but also surprisingly deep in symbolism and metaphor. The premise of the book is a school built sideways--that is 30 stories high instead of 30 classrooms longs. There are 30 chapters and each chapter is about a certain character. Some of these chapters are just plain funny and witty while others have a lot of depth to them. For example, the chapter on Joe is ripe with commentary about the education system. Joe has an unusual problem. He can't count correctly. His teacher asks him to count to 10. His response is 4,6,2,1,7,6,3,9,8,10. He gets the right answer, but he does it the wrong way. His teacher teaches him to count, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and asks him to count to 5. His response: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. This time it was the correct method, but the wrong answer. Neither are satisfied until he goes through a silly and intricate solution. But the story behind the story is about how the education often cares more about students learning the right way than what the students actually learn. Another example is the Three Erics. There is Eric Bacon, Eric Fry and Eric Ovens. Two of the Erics are fat, one is skinny. But everyone assumes they all are fat. Two of the Erics are terrible athletes, the other is superb. But everyone assumes they all are terrible at sports. And so on. I like this chapter because it looks at the way kids--and adults--make stereotypes and hold onto them even when faced with obvious facts stating otherwise. Other stories address the inability for real leaders to lead, how some people see only bad qualities in others, the ridiculous demand society has to accomplish demands that can't be accomplished and how some people are perceived bad only because of their reputation. This book is a gem for both adults and kids. It is short, snappy and fun just like Catch-22 for kids but adds a zaniness--laughing walls, evil rats, rainbow colored mustaches--that Catch-22 instead fills with despair, sadness and frustration. This book will be one of the first on my children's bookshelves and certainly a must read bedtime story book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    aisha

    HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK IS SO GREAT. unbelievably great. it cracks me up regulary ("take a train, peanut brain!" being one of my favorite lines). children's books are fantastic bedtime readings - they are usually short, relatively simple, and - in the case of the whole wayside collection - ridiculously entertaining and clever. i fear the day this becomes a film (unless my college roommate writes and directs it) because all of the kids are such unique and well developed characters, it has to be incred HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK IS SO GREAT. unbelievably great. it cracks me up regulary ("take a train, peanut brain!" being one of my favorite lines). children's books are fantastic bedtime readings - they are usually short, relatively simple, and - in the case of the whole wayside collection - ridiculously entertaining and clever. i fear the day this becomes a film (unless my college roommate writes and directs it) because all of the kids are such unique and well developed characters, it has to be incredibly accurate (according to me anyway.) read this book. most of you won't be disappointed (although, i did have a few friends who didn't like it very much...and i am no longer in contact with those nutjobs.) am i kidding? hah!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Venable

    This is absolutely the most perfect book I have ever read for this age group. Brilliant, hysterical, and seemingly simplistic, the book is anything but. I was shocked re-reading it as an adult how stunningly original all the small stories that make up this book are. If you haven't read it since you were young, I INSIST you pick it up again. The best in the bunch: icecream flavored like kids and the invisible note for the invisible teacher on the invisible floor.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christal

    Loved this as a kid! Passed it on to my sister and can't wait to pass it on to my children.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    Sachar captures how arbitrary and pointless and incomprehensible school can be. But somehow, he makes it funny and touching instead of confusing and frustrating and awful like it is in real life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I was only half-way interested in reading this book out loud to my son, who received it as an end of year gift from his second grade teacher. I expected it to be kind of dumb because I knew it was meant to be "funny", and my idea of funny doesn't always overlap with a seven-year-old's. But we tried it for lack of other reading material at hand, and it turned out I was captivated by the oddness of it. The stories, 30 of them, to match the 30 stories of Wayside School (which was accidentally built I was only half-way interested in reading this book out loud to my son, who received it as an end of year gift from his second grade teacher. I expected it to be kind of dumb because I knew it was meant to be "funny", and my idea of funny doesn't always overlap with a seven-year-old's. But we tried it for lack of other reading material at hand, and it turned out I was captivated by the oddness of it. The stories, 30 of them, to match the 30 stories of Wayside School (which was accidentally built sideways with all the classrooms stacked on top of each other), vary from the gently goofy to the downright surreal. There's no emotional depth to it at all, but there's not meant to be, so that didn't seem to matter. It's just strangeness for the sake of strangeness, and somehow it worked.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt Mazenauer

    This is the book that taught me that humor doesn't always have to follow the rules. The absurdism absolutely flavored all my daydreams from then on. All in all, it's actually a painfully short book and it's so weird that it makes one's brian stumble a bit at places. I guess that's what's great about it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wart Hill

    MY CHILDHOOOOOD

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tessie

    I love this book. It's one of my favorites. It's absolutely hilarious. You totally have to read it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Destinee Sutton

    I'm rereading this for the first time since elementary school, and I gotta say, I'm really blown away by the sheer absurdity of it. It reminds me of James Marshall's George and Martha stories: absurd, but lovely in that they never apologize for being absurd or wink at you from beneath the absurdity. It's just absurd all the way down, sincerely and deeply absurd. I imagine after you graduate from George and Martha, you move on to Wayside, and from there you're ready for Beckett and Camus.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    Here's to another series I LOVED as a kid. I checked the audiobook out of the library a couple of years ago for Eleanor, but she was NOT interested. A couple months ago, I tried again and she gave it a shot. She loved it. Shortly after, I checked this out to read to all three girls. Man, I can't believe how good they still are. My goodreads shelf tells me that the last time I read this was back in 2005. I could read this one every year. As I've mentioned before, these kid reviews seriously inflate Here's to another series I LOVED as a kid. I checked the audiobook out of the library a couple of years ago for Eleanor, but she was NOT interested. A couple months ago, I tried again and she gave it a shot. She loved it. Shortly after, I checked this out to read to all three girls. Man, I can't believe how good they still are. My goodreads shelf tells me that the last time I read this was back in 2005. I could read this one every year. As I've mentioned before, these kid reviews seriously inflate my goodreads average review score. But, this one I'll agree with them on... unless they don't give it five stars. ...If that's the case, I'll have to have an old-fashioned heart-to-heart with them. Alright: Lets start out. How many stars should I give it? El: 5! Poppy: Fwenty! El: Gwen? How many stars do you want to give it? Gwen: A hundred! No! Infinity! El: You mean five? Gwen: Infinity! El: I guess you really like it if you want to give it that many stars. Poppy: Are you going to give it fwenty? Dad: (Looks like we won't have to have the heart-to-heart after all.) We're going to do something different today. Instead of all talking at once, or listening to what everybody else says, I want you to whisper your first answer to me, okay? All: Ok. Dad: We're going to go with Gwen first, that way she can't read everybody else's answer when you're done. ...Actually, Gwen, lets go out to the hall real quick. Dad: (Out in the hall, whispering): What was your favorite part, Gwen? G: My favorite part was when the (view spoiler)[ghost of Mrs. Gorf came back. (hide spoiler)] Dad: Poppy, what was your favorite part? P: Uhhhhmmmm... Mine was in the movie book. D: No. What was your fa. P: Movie book. D: No. What was your favorite part from THIS book? (Holds up Sideways Stories) P: Ok... lets see... flipping through the book randomly. It waaaaasssss.... It was THIS one. G: Paul. P: It was Paul. *points to page* I like this part. Dad: Actually, that was my favorite part, too. Maybe moreso in the third book. More on that later. P: I liked Paul. I liked Paul, daddy. I liked Paul. D: El? E: Let me come over here, so I can whisper. D: You don't have to whisper any more, since you're the last one to go. E: Why didn't Poppy have to whisper? D: I wasn't worried about you copying off of her. I was pretty sure she'd just copy off of you... Or, as it turns out, flip open the book to a random page and claim that was her favorite part. ...She's three. E: Well, MY favorite part was when LOUIS told the story about (view spoiler)[ us to the kids at Wayside. (hide spoiler)] I also liked the part about Maurecia - and the (view spoiler)[the different flavored ice cream. ...And how she kept taking a bite of Todd's arm so she could get the Todd flavored ice cream. (hide spoiler)] And I ALSO liked Mrs. Jewls - and how she thought (view spoiler)[ the kids were monkeys. (hide spoiler)] G: *whispering* I have another favorite part. D: What is it? And you don't have to whisper. G: My second favorite part was the one with Terrence. I liked Terrence, too. D: What did you like about him? G: I really liked when Terrence (view spoiler)[kicked the ball over the fence. And I liked Jenny, because they said, 'You really shouldn't come here on a Saturday. (hide spoiler)] D: Eleanor noticed a couple of the ways Louis (the author) tied the book together. Like the Stephen chapter, when Stephen said to Jenny, "(view spoiler)[You'd probably come here on a Sunday. He said that because Jenny had already come to school on a Saturday. (hide spoiler)] E: I forgot a favorite part. Actually, two favorite parts. D: What are they? E: The first one is where Jenny (view spoiler)[ goes to school on a Saturday. And the guys were like, next time, don't go to school on a Saturday. Also, when they kicked Terrence over the fence. (hide spoiler)] D: Are you guys excited to be reading the second book? All: YEAH! D: Would you recommend this book to anybody? All: Yeah! Gwen: MAYBE!!! El: I would recommend it to EVERYBODY!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    My kids and I just finished reading this book aloud one story a night. The humorous stories and ridiculous situations entertained all three kids (aged 4 through 8) and I found myself laughing aloud with them ad the adventures of the kids on the 30th story. Characters Each story focuses primarily on a different character so trying to lump all of the characters together into a single review category is difficult. The two character persistent throughout the book, Mrs. Jewls and Louis, are interesti My kids and I just finished reading this book aloud one story a night. The humorous stories and ridiculous situations entertained all three kids (aged 4 through 8) and I found myself laughing aloud with them ad the adventures of the kids on the 30th story. Characters Each story focuses primarily on a different character so trying to lump all of the characters together into a single review category is difficult. The two character persistent throughout the book, Mrs. Jewls and Louis, are interesting in that they are the only adults (once Mrs. Gorf is gone) and yet their behaviors are just as outrageous as those of the children. Where the characters really shine is in their simple, child-like logic not tainted by the "reality" of adult experience and education. Each of the characters find themselves in unique situations and react with matter-of-fact that are very true depictions of the mindset of a child. The simplicity and innocence of the characters' thinking serves as a great commentary not only on the humorous and sometimes foolish predicaments that they find themselves in, but also on the fact that sometimes those innocent and simple ideals are just as effective (or even more effective) than the "logical" views of the adult world. Plot/Pacing/Setting/Etc Each story had its own plot that was generally wrapped up within the story itself. Sometimes elements of one story will show up later in another story. The pacing is quick and engaging. Never did my kids get bored during the reading. If anything, the pacing may have been too quick at times since the kids were often bummed that a story was over too quickly. The setting of Wayside school was a quirky and unique exploration of a school. I loved the idea that the construction crew made a mistake and built the rooms one on top of another instead of side by side as in a "normal" school. I especially loved the last chapter where Louis tells the kids about other schools...and how strange they (we) are. Overall This is a great collection of stories...essentially a collection of children's fables (although unlike a "true" fable, the morals are often left unsaid or less pronounced). The humor and wit is entertaining both for kids and adults and makes for an entertaining read. By breaking the book out into a series of many very short stories, this book becomes something that can be picked up for a quick 5-10 minutes of reading or can be lounged over for an hour or so. The language is simple enough that an early reader (1st-2nd grade) should be able to read it on his/her own. It's definitely a lot of fun to read aloud with kids and I'm glad I went that route with my kids. I look forward to finding more stories from Wayside school. **** 4 stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    The only thing I remembered about this book from the long, long ago when I read it was that I really liked it. I just bought it and the two sequels for my niece, and had to check it out again before passing it on to her. I'm glad I read it again as it gave me a nice jaunt down memory lane. I never read the sequels, and am not going to read them now due to having so much other stuff to read, but I'm sure she'll like them. Right off the bat in chapter one we have an evil bitch of a teacher named Mr The only thing I remembered about this book from the long, long ago when I read it was that I really liked it. I just bought it and the two sequels for my niece, and had to check it out again before passing it on to her. I'm glad I read it again as it gave me a nice jaunt down memory lane. I never read the sequels, and am not going to read them now due to having so much other stuff to read, but I'm sure she'll like them. Right off the bat in chapter one we have an evil bitch of a teacher named Mrs. Gorf who actually reminds me of my third grade teacher Mrs. Ball. She has a forked tongue, can wiggle her ears, cast spells, and do all kinds of evil deeds (Mrs. Gorf, not Mrs. Ball, though the latter could certainly have pulled all that off if she'd tried; she was definitely mean enough to pull from the dark side of the force if she had the ability to use it at all). No fan of suspense or plot build-up, Sachar immediately sees her cannibalized by the recess teacher, and then it's on to chapter two. What a hook, eh? We hear from her ghost toward the end of the book for a page or two, and then she's remurdered by a hug from a student. Alas for Mrs. Gorf. One thing I really liked about this book was that all the chapters are titled with the name of the person it's about. E.g. chapter one is "Mrs. Gorf." Wayside school was built without a 19th story. There are 30 floors, but the 19th simply doesn't exist. The teacher on that floor, Miss. Zarves, also doesn't exist, though a student is instructed to take a note to her. (He manages it quite logically, actually). That's all spelled out early on in the book, and then we get to chapter 19 entitled "Miss Zarves," and it simply states "There is no Miss Zarves. There is no 19th story. Sorry." Ingenious. If you like short, silly kid stories, then this is quite good. If you read it when you were a kid, then you know whether or not you like it, of course. I believe any elementary age child who enjoys reading would enjoy this book. The stories are short (three to five pages each) and easy to read. There's also a fair amount of fun wordplay that I always appreciate, as mentioned in the paragraph above, but the stories also have a plot and aren't solely linguistic acrobatics.

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