"The funniest joles are teh ones that remain untold"…..or Sideways Stories from Wayside School

<iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=areyoutheyoui-20&amp;o=1&amp;p=8&amp;l=bpl&amp;asins=0380731487&amp;fc1=000000&amp;IS2=1&amp;lt1=_blank&amp;m=amazon&amp;lc1=0000FF&amp;bc1=000000&amp;bg1=FFFFFF&amp;f=ifr&#8221; style=”padding-top: 5px; width: 131px; height: 245px; padding-right: 10px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ align=”left” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”>Wow.  I can’t believe how much I used to love this book as a kid.  So much that I bought the entire Wayside series for my nephew one year for his birthday.  Now I’m wondering if he thinks I hate him.  Because this book, which I remembered being so wonderful and quirky, is really just blah.  Don’t get me wrong, Louis Sachar (author of the far more fantastic Holes) tries very hard.  And he probably has written a book here that appeals to kids, but that adults just don’t get. 

Wayside school was built wrong.  All thirty classrooms were supposed to be next to each other on one floor, but the designers made a mistake and they built a school with thirty stories, one classroom per floor.  Sideways Stories focuses on the students on the thirtieth floor, each student being given one chapter, about 3-5 pages in length. 

And the stories are definitely bizarre.  From Mrs. Gorf, the evil first teacher who got turned into an apple and eaten by the recess monitor, to John who can only read upside down, to Sammy who turns out to be a dead rat in disguise, to Maurecia who only eats ice cream and Nancy, the boy who hates his girl’s name, each of the stories is actually fairly wacky. 

So I should have liked it.  But for whatever reason, the wackiness just wasn’t doing it for me.  The few short chapters that totally worked for me?

  • Paul – the kid who believed the pigtails of the girl in front of him were begging to be pulled.
  • Allison – who learns that the students really are smarter than the teachers
  • Dameon – whose pupils of his eyes are metaphorically linked to his lost pencil
  • Louis – the playground monitor, who, at the end we find out is telling this story about the students at Wayside School.

Even going back and reading this post, I think I’m kind of making it sound like a good book.  And now I’m wondering if I was just not in the right mood when I read it.  *shrugs*   Either way, I’d recommend Holes over this book any day.


I’ve had a great reception to my Banned Books Week Challenge!   I tried to email everyone back, but I’m not always the most reliable emailer.  So, if I didn’t get back to you A-I’m sorry.  And B- write your BBW post sometime between September 25th and October 1st.  Email me a link no later than October first (nhboisture (at) gmail (dot) com, and I’ll do my BBW roundup post on the last day of BBW, October second, and I’ll include a link to everyone who wrote for the challenge.   Sometime during that week, I’ll be posting my own banned book review on the Harry Potter series. Also, everyone who participates is automatically entered to win a prize!


About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
This entry was posted in Louis Sachar. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to "The funniest joles are teh ones that remain untold"…..or Sideways Stories from Wayside School

  1. nikki says:

    Let me apologize for the misspellings in the blog title. My head was actually turned to the tv,watching Julia Child make the butteriest croissants I've ever seen. Spellcheck doesn't pick up errors in the title.

  2. Alison says:

    Wait. Louis the playground monitor who is telling the story…is that by chance Louis Sachar? I'm always a little weired out by authors naming characters after themselves.And hooray for the Alison shout-out! Even if the character does spell her name wrong. I'll take it over the majority of characters named Alison/Allison/Allyson that turn out to be prostitutes or otherwise promiscuous. (Proven fact.)

  3. Ladytink_534 says:

    I loved these books when I was a kid!

  4. Sadako says:

    Me too, Ladytink. They were great.Is Allison/Alison a name for prostitutes? I usually associate it with nice girl next door types. Judy Blume's character in Just As Long As We're Together and Here's to You, Rachel Robinson was an Allison who was really nice. The girl in the Breakfast Club played by Ally Sheedy was also an Allison who claimed to be a nymphomaniac to screw with Claire, but wasn't. The only slutty/mean Allison I can think of is the one from Bret Easton Ellis's novels.

  5. Rebel Mel says:

    Best series of books ever written..

  6. nikki says:

    Alison my understanding of your name is that you, indeed, spell it "right." Alison is french diminutive for Alice, while Allison means Son of Allen and is therefore the boys' way to spell it. Technically, one could argue correctly that the "right" way to spell any name is how it's spelled on the birth certificate. But don't even get me started on those silly Ys in the middle of some names.

  7. Boonie S says:

    Interesting review. Thanks.

  8. Oh man, I love these books! I reread all three of them on a near-monthly basis with my stuffed elephant! Bummed to hear the rereading didn't work for you, dude.Although there's no doubt that Holes is Louis Sachar's masterpiece. It's not even really a young adult book — it's a book for all ages that just happens to feature a (very cool) kid protagonist. @Alison: Louis is indeed Louis Sachar! He used to be a playground monitor, before he was a writer, and based Wayside School and its students on some of his experiences.

  9. Caitlin says:

    Alison, as a Caitlin, I can relate to superfluous Y's (as well as K's and the damned Katelynn)Anyway, I love Wayside School. My favorite was the one with the substitute teacher who had an extra ear on the top of her head. The ear heard other people's thoughts and she got all bitter. Top drawer stuff, really.

  10. Row-bin says:

    Aw, I still love these books- I used to wear a huge winter coat with a hood to cover my face just like Shari. I also adore the title "Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger"- double meanings ahoy!

  11. Akilah says:

    My daughter LOVED these books when she was in 2-4 grades. She read all of them, and they were great for read alouds in the classroom. I only read a few of the stories with her, but they were super fun and wacky, which is always good for getting kids to read.

  12. Sarah says:

    Holes, Schmoles. You should read Someday Angeline, or Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, or The Boy Who Lost His Face. Far superior Louis Sacher books.

  13. Alison says:

    @Sadako–Breakfast Club Alison and Judy Blume Alison are the only good Alisons I can think of. Otherwise, Alison is the go-to name for the "bad influence" on 90s shows. (Like the Alison that broke Shaun and his girlfriend up on Boy Meets World.) Also, there's "Alison's Song" by Remembering Never. And the book "Alison, Who Went Away" by Vivian Vande Velde. And Elvis Costello's Alison did lift up her party dress…

  14. Sadako says:

    There was an Allison on Boy Meets World?

  15. bibberly says:

    I had a similar reaction when I tried to read these books again as an adult. Usually I'm all about the books I liked as a kid, but not this one. Not sure why.However, I do think the Wayside math books were really cool.

  16. Alison says:

    @Sadako–She was a one episode character. She either broke Shaun and a girl up or she was a BAD INFLUENCE. Pshh. We're not all evil!

  17. Caitlin says:

    I don't remember an Alison either. I thought you were talking about the chick from Terminator 3 who hissed at Cory but I think her name was Jennifer. I'll be on the lookout for it once I start to recap the older seasons. Slogging through season one is no fun.

  18. Amber says:

    I was a total fiend for those Wayside books. The story about the kid who turns out to be a rat haunts me to this day. I wonder what was going on in Mr. Sachar's life when he wrote that chapter.

  19. Sada says:

    Allison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith's character) on Melrose Place was definitely a girl-next-door type too. Well, as much as one could be on Melrose Place.I don't think I've ever read any Louis Sachar! I'll be remedying this posthaste.

  20. moxobee says:

    I remember liking this book a lot too, but I had some sort of mental block over the Wayside math books as a kid.Holes is brilliant, as others have said.Sarah – I'd forgotten that Sachar wrote Someday Angeline too, that truly is a fantastic book!

  21. I'm a new follower and I enjoy reading your blog. "The Wayside School" books are gigundoly awesome, so gigundoly awesome in fact, that I bought "The Wayside School" collection. It has all three books in a cute slipcase. Oh, and I love your review on the BSC books. BSC Forever!

  22. Gnatalby says:

    In one of the Wayside books there is a kid who is trying to figure out what tattoo to get, and he can't decide so he goes with a small potato on his ankle. I've always thought that if I get a tattoo it will be a potato on my ankle.

  23. Pingback: Who says dog means dog? Or Frindle | Are You There Youth? It's Me, Nikki

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s