Great Illustrated Books

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

By Louis Sachar

HarperCollins, 1998
Pages : 128
Suggested Ages: 8 and Up
ISBN: 9780688160869

There are strange things afoot on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. The classroom’s first teacher, the wicked Mrs. Gorf, turned all her children into apples, but had to be replaced when they reversed her spell, turned her into an apple, and she accidentally was eaten by Louis, the schoolyard teacher. Whoops. The twenty-seven wacky kids are now in the hands of a bewildered nice, young teacher, Mrs. Jewls, and each chapter is devoted to their quirks, one classmate at a time. Sharie naps during every period, and one day she falls straight out the window. Louis the schoolyard teacher (okay, the author) carries her back up the thirty stories—and she’s still dead asleep. Deedee, taught to problem solve, approaches the problem of getting the last picks of recess equipment with the solution of being kicked out of class early (by dressing up as a dead rat). And Sammy…well, the class removes Sammy’s many raincoats one smelly day to reveal that who they thought was the new kid is actually a dead rodent in disguise.

Mrs. Jewls matches them at every turn—by writing their names on the chalkboard under DISCIPLINE, for as strange reasons as greeting her good morning, or dressing up like dead rats. Once their names are written, underlined, and circled, the kids are sent home early on the kindergarten bus. They fill it up fast.

Sachar’s nonsensical humor and snappy dialogue show up in every line in Wayside. If your kids beg for more, segue into Wayside School is Falling Down and Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School—they’ll be doing math problem after math problem from the book before they know what hit ‘em.   

Reviewed by : CH.


If you love this book, then try:

Amato, Mary. The Word Eater. Holiday House, 2000.

Dahl, Roald. Matilda. Viking, 1988.

Evans, Douglas. Apple Island or, The Truth About Teachers. Front Street, 1998.

Evans, Douglas. The Classroom at the End of the Hall. Front Street, 1996.

Evans, Douglas. Math Rashes and Other Classroom Tales. Front Street, 2004.

Fleming, Candace. The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School. Schwartz & Wade, 2007.

Gutman, Dan. Miss Daisy Is Crazy. HarperCollins, 2004. (And others in the My Weird School series.)

Hornik, Laurie Miller. The Secrets of Ms. Snickle's Class. Clarion, 2001.

Hornik, Laurie Miller. Zoo School. Clarion, 2004.

King-Smith, Dick. Clever Lollipop. Candlewick, 2003.

Sachar, Louis. Dogs Don't Tell Jokes. Knopf, 1991.

Sachar, Louis. Holes. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 1998.

Sachar, Louis. Marvin Redpost: Alone in His Teacher's House. Random House, 1994. (And others in the Marvin Redpost series.)

Sachar, Louis. Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School. Scholastic, 1994.

Sachar, Louis. There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom. Knopf, 1987.

Sachar, Louis. Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. HarperTeen, 2004.

Sachar, Louis. Wayside School Is Falling Down. Lothrop, 1989.

Scieszka, Jon. The Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio series). Viking Juvenile, 1991.

Scieszka, Jon. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Viking, 1992.

Shearer, Alex. Canned. Scholastic, 2008.

Snicket, Lemony. The Austere Academy.  HarperCollins, 2000.

Critics have said

"The quirky humor in this book is appealing to children, and it makes a good read-aloud book for the younger set."
Richard Farr