Monday, November 14, 2011

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Originally published in 1978, 128 pages

Source: Library

Sideways Stories from Wayside School has to be the biggest bunch of nonsense I've ever read! As you may remember, this was a book on my Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read list. I really liked this series as a child. As an adult, I just can't figure out what I ever saw in it. I was so shocked at its stupidity, I actually wanted to stop reading it. Since it is pretty short, though, I finished it, just so I could actually count it towards the Contentment Reading Challenge. 1 down, 4 to go!

Wayside School is a school that was mistakenly built UP 30 floors, instead of being built sideways. The 19th floor was mistakenly forgotten, too! So that there's a story for each floor, you get 30 different stories that for the most part stand independent from one another. (The 19th chapter simply tells you you're not getting a story since the 19th floor doesn't exist).

Just to give you a taste of what is in the pages of Sideways Stories from Wayside School, I'm going to share part of Chapter 14.

"When Sammy first came into the room, he was four feet tall. But after Mrs. Jewls removed six of his raincoats, he was only three feet tall. And there were still more raincoats to go.
Mrs. Jewls circled his name and removed another coat. She threw it out the window. Then she put a triangle around the circle and threw another one of his coats outside. She kept doing this until Sammy was only one-and-a-half feet high. With every caot she took off, Sammy's laugh got louder and louder and the smell got worse.
Some of the children held their ears. Others could hold only one ear because they were holding their nose with the other hand. It was hard to say which was worse, the laugh or the smell.
Sammy stopped laughing and said, "Hey, old windbag, if you take off one more of my coats and throw it out the window, I'll bite your head off."
"They smell too bad for me to allow them in my classroom," said Mrs. Jewls. "You can pick them up when you leave."
"They smell better than you do, Pighead!" Sammy shouted.
Mrs. Jewls didn't stop. She took off another one of his coats, then another, and another. Sammy was only four inches tall, three inches tall, two inches tall. At last she removed the final coat.
All that was there was a dead rat."

A dead rat! "sigh"

There's no doubt in my mind that children enjoy these books. I did! As I was telling Jonathan about the previous story, he told me he remembered There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom being one of his favorite books when he was a child. He didn't realize that the same author wrote both books, so apparently it was just as corny as Sideways Stories from Wayside School and it triggered something in his brain.

I'm disappointed, but I did learn that not all books were meant to be enjoyed by children AND adults. That said, from looking at Amazon reviews, plenty of adults enjoy these books, too. They're just not for me, though!!!


  1. Don't you just hate that when you revisit an old favorite from childhood and discover it's not "all that" after all!? I still have some books on my shelf I'm half-way afraid to touch for just that reason.

  2. I think I remember loving these too! Don't you hate when something doesn't live up to your memory? ;)

  3. Maybe the author got better with time, or found a better genre for his work, because his YA (or maybe middle grade?) novel Holes was actually really good!! It was written much more recently that the 1970s.

  4. It was quite a disappointment!!

    I've never read Holes, but I saw the movie. I know that doesn't mean anything, since the movies are almost always different than the book!! :)