Sideways Stories from Wayside School

( 85 )

Overview

You can imagine the confusion at Wayside School when the builder made a terrible mistake. You see, instead of building 30 classrooms side-by-side, he built them one on top of another.

Maybe that accounts for the wacky goings-on in Mrs. Jewls' class. Where else will you find children being turned into apples, dead rats wearing raincoats, and little girls who try to sell their toes? If you're confused too, ...
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Overview

You can imagine the confusion at Wayside School when the builder made a terrible mistake. You see, instead of building 30 classrooms side-by-side, he built them one on top of another.

Maybe that accounts for the wacky goings-on in Mrs. Jewls' class. Where else will you find children being turned into apples, dead rats wearing raincoats, and little girls who try to sell their toes? If you're confused too, maybe Todd can explain it to you, but just remember, he leaves at noon.

Humorous episodes from the classroom on the thirtieth floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with one classroom on each story.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Sachar takes kids to that very peculiar school built with thirty classrooms on top of each other, and tells stories about the very strange teachers and students. Mrs. Gorf, who turned students into apples, came to a very bad end. She was replace by Mrs. Jewls, who has a penchant for writing kids' names under the Discipline heading on the blackboard. Within many of these stories are some gems of truth, such as the story of D.J., whose smile is contagious and who states at the end when pressed for a reason for his smiling state, "You need a reason to be sad. You don't need a reason to be happy." Others in the series are Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger and Wayside School is Falling Down. 1998 (orig.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380698714
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1985
  • Series: Wayside School Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 757
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Sachar

When Louis Sachar was going to school, his teachers always pronounced his name wrong. Now that he has become a popular author of children’s books, teachers all over the country are pronouncing his name wrong. It should be pronounced “Sacker,” like someone who tackles quarterbacks or someone who stuffs potatoes into sacks.

Mr. Sachar received a B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. His first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, was accepted for publication during his first year of law school. After receiving his law degree, he spent six years asking himself whether he wanted to be an author or a lawyer before deciding to write for children full-time. His books include Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, Wayside School is Falling Down, Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series.

Louis Sachar lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and their daughter, Sherre.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Mrs. Gorf

Mrs. Gorf had a long tongue and pointed ears. She was the meanest teacher in Wayside School. She taught the class on the thirtieth story.

"If you children are bad," she warned, "or if you answer a problem wrong, I'll wiggle my ears, stick out my tongue, and turn you into apples!" Mrs. Gorf didn't like children, but she loved apples.

Joe couldn't add. He couldn't even count. But he knew that if he answered a problem wrong, he would be turned into an apple. So he copied from John. He didn't like to cheat, but Mrs. Gorf had never taught him how to add. One day Mrs. Gorf caught Joe copying John's paper.

She wiggled her ears--first her right one, then her left--stuck out her tongue, and turned Joe into an apple. Then she turned John into an apple for letting Joe cheat.

"Hey, that isn't fair," said Todd. "John was only trying to help a friend."

Mrs. Gorf wiggled her ears--first her right one, then her left--stuck out her tongue, and turned Todd into an apple. "Does anybody else have an opinion?" she asked.

Nobody said a word.

Mrs. Gorf laughed and placed the three apples on her desk.

Stephen started to cry. He couldn't help it. He was scared.

"I do not allow crying in the classroom," said Mrs. Gorf. She wiggled her ears--first her right one, then her left--stuck out her tongue, and turned Stephen into an apple.

For the rest of the day, the children were absolutely quiet. And when they went home, they were too scared even to talk to their parents.

But Joe, John, Todd, and Stephen couldn't go home. Mrs. Gorf just left them on her desk. They were able to talk toeach other, but they didn't have much to say.

Their parents were very worried. They didn't know where their children were. Nobody seemed to know.

The next day Kathy was late for school. As soon as she walked in, Mrs. Gorf turned her into an apple.

Paul sneezed during class. He was turned into an apple.

Nancy said, "God bless you!" when Paul sneezed. Mrs. Gorf wiggled her ears--first her right one, then her left--stuck out her tongue, and turned Nancy into an apple.

Terrence fell out of his chair. He was turned into an apple.

Maurecia tried to run away. She was halfway to the door as Mrs. Gorf's right ear began to wiggle. When she reached the door, Mrs. Gorf's left ear wiggled. Maurecia opened the door and had one foot outside when Mrs. Gorf stuck out her tongue. Maurecia became an apple.

Mrs. Gorf picked up the apple from the floor and put it on her desk with the others. Then a funny thing happened. Mrs. Gorf turned around and fell over a piece of chalk.

The three Erics laughed. They were turned into apples.

Mrs. Gorf had a dozen apples on her desk: Joe, John, Todd, Stephen, Kathy, Paul, Nancy, Terrence, Maurecia, and the three Erics -- Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens.

Louis, the yard teacher, walked into the classroom. He had missed the children at recess. He had heard that Mrs. Gorf was a mean teacher. So he came up to investigate. He saw the twelve apples on Mrs. Gorf's desk. "I must be wrong," he thought. "She must be a good teacher if so many children bring her apples." He walked back down to the playground.

The next day a dozen more children were turned into apples. Louis, the yard teacher, came back into the room. He saw twenty-four apples on Mrs. Gorf's desk. There were only three children left in the class. ''She must be the best teacher in the world," he thought.

By the end of the week all of the children were apples. Mrs. Gorf was very happy. ''Now I can go home," she said. "I don't have to teach anymore. I won't have to walk up thirty flights of stairs ever again."

"You're not going anywhere," shouted Todd. He jumped off the desk and bopped Mrs. Gorf on the nose.

The rest of the apples followed. Mrs. Gorf fell on the floor. The apples jumped all over her.

"Stop," she shouted, "or I'll turn you into apple sauce!"

But the apples didn't stop, and Mrs. Gorf could do nothing about it.

"Turn us back into children," Todd demanded.

Mrs. Gorf had no choice. She stuck out her tongue, wiggled her ears--this time her left one first, then her right--and turned the apples back into children.

"All right, " said Maurecia, "let's go get Louis. He'll know what to do."

"No!" screamed Mrs. Gorf. "I'll turn you back into apples." She wiggled her ears--first her right one, then her left--and stuck out her tongue. But Jenny held up a mirror, and Mrs. Gorf turned herself into an apple.

The children didn't know what to do. They didn't have a teacher. Even though Mrs. Gorf was mean, they didn't think it was right to leave her as an apple. But none of them knew how to wiggle their ears.

Louis, the yard teacher, walked in. "Where's Mrs. Gorf?" he asked.

Nobody said a word.

"Boy, am I hungry," said Louis. "I don't think Mrs. Gorf would mind if I ate this apple. After all, she always has so many."

He picked up the apple, which was really Mrs. Gorf, shined it up on his shirt, and ate it.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Copyright © by Louis Sachar. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 85 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 85 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2004

    A True Delight

    I was desperately seeking a book that would inspire a love of reading in my 9 year old. She hated reading. A friend of mine is a school teacher and she highly reccommended this book. My child loved this book! I could hear her laughing as she read it. Truly excellent.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    I love this book!! My teacher read it in class all the time when

    I love this book!! My teacher read it in class all the time when I was in 4th grade. I'm 30 now and I have been looking for it so that my children can read it!!!!!
    Thanks

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    Wonderful book for a new reader

    I read a chapter in this series with my friend's son each night. The characters keep him interested and engaged. The comedy of each special "wayside" situation provides lots of conversation points with my favorite six year old. The writing is easy enough for him to practice reading the lines of each character, and the situations silly enough that we make it to the end of the chapter laughing! Some of the content might be edgy for some parents, so it is important to read the content in advance so you are prepared to answer questions about a smelly rat or the pulling of braids. I highly HIGHLY recommend this book to any parent or grandparent looking for a way to get a child, especially a boy, interested in reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wayside School...

    my teacher used to read this book in class when i was still a kid in elementry school and it was one of my favorite books ever... to be honest i haven't read it since third grade or so, now i'm a freshmen in high school, but i would recommend it to anyone anywhere! it is great, funny, and a major attention getter of children around the ages of first to fourth grade... i'm so glad that my teacher read it to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Sideways Stories Great for School

    I started reading this book to tots over 20 years ago and it still works. It's a chance to use funny voices and get the class/children to participate. The original cover was better but the content is still super. Great book to read to a class of 6 year olds!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    Great!!!!!!!

    I think this book was really great! My 1st grade teacher read this book to the class and everybody loved it. I recommend this book to all ages. It was hilarious and the characters were so wacky!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable

    This book was really fun to read! It's funny and alive, a great pick for non-readers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2009

    Sideways Stories From Wayside School Review

    I like Wayside School because each chapter has children or child or adult that goes to Wayside School. This book is are for people who like funny stuff. I think one of the best chapters was Mrs. Jewels. When she first got in she thought everyone was a monkey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Great

    One of the greatest book I've ever read!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sideways stories

    Sachar, L. (1978). Sideways Stories from Wayside School. New York: Avon Books.

    0380698714

    This is the first book in Sachar's famous and much loved Wayside School series. While not lacking action, each chapter presents itself as a character sketch of the students and teachers on the 30th floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built up vertically instead of the planned horizontally. Sachar (pronounced Sack-er) actually included himself as a character, Louis the yard teacher.

    While this series may be best for allowing students to enjoy books that will make them laugh out loud, a teacher could also share a general lesson on metafiction and Surrealism. The teacher would be able to bring in other children's books (such as Jumanji or Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg) that show absurd or dream-like qualities.
    While I remember finding these character sketches immensely entertaining as a child (and I know I wasn't alone) I had a very different experience reading the series as an adult and as a teacher. I remember as a child, thinking the young replacement for Mrs. Gorf was a good teacher. Reading it this time, I felt Mrs. Jewls still managed to fall short as a teacher when it came to communicating with students.

    As the series go on, what initially are basic character profiles extends out into long running jokes and overlapping plots. All of the books demonstrate the fun a writer or student can have with language.
    Also, this is a good series to share with undergrads studying to be educators. There are a number of commentaries about different approaches to teaching.


    Activities to do with the book:

    This series is probably best to amuse middle grade readers.

    However, if a teacher really wanted to do lessons with this book, he or she could lead students into a discussion of surrealism. As for activities, a teacher could encourage students to record their dreams and turn them into stories.

    Also, since there are so many characters in the book, each student in a class could be assigned a character and he or she could play that character if the books were acted out or the student could write a continuation of that character's story. Another option would be to write a story in which the student was one of the many characters.


    Favorite Quotes:

    "It has been said that these stories are strange and silly. That is probably true. However, when I told stories about you to the children at Wayside, they thought you were strange and silly. That is probably also true" (p. 9).

    "[The student] were afraid of what their new teacher would be like. They had heard she'd be a terribly nice teacher. They had never had a nice teacher. They were terribly afraid of nice teachers" (p. 15).

    "Class," said Mrs. Jewls. "Let's all thank Louis for his wonderful story."
    Everybody booed" (p. 124).

    For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is one of the best books ever!!!

    My favorite part is when Butter Fingers touch the ball and the ball slipped off his fingers. What was really funny about this book is the names of the characters. For example, Eric Bacon, Eric Frye and Eric Oven. Those were the funniest names I ever heard in my life, EVER!!! It was HILLARIOUS!!!

    Cameron Fane
    7 years old

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  • Posted November 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Silly fun

    Wayside School was a set up to be special from the moment the builders mistakenly built it as thirty one-room floors instead of one thirty-room floor. Luckily this left a lot of extra space for the playground, a playground that Mrs. Jewels' class rarely gets to play on since their room is at the top of the building. <BR/><BR/>I remember loving the Wayside books as a kid. Anything and everything could and did happen, from dead rats who are determined to sneak into Mrs. Jewels class, to Mrs. Zorf (who doesn't exist, and her classroom on the 19th floor which also doesn't exist) to puns and humorous literal interpretations of concepts. In trying to expand my children's love of stories I picked Sideways Stories from Wayside School to read before bed each night.<BR/><BR/>While we enjoyed some stories, like Mrs. Gorf (who turns the kids into apples when they misbehave), Mrs. Jewels (who thinks the class is filled with monkeys because children can't possibly be so cute) and Todd (a student who just cannot seem to get through a whole day without being sent home, no matter how hard he tries), others were a complete miss. There were some stories I feel we didn't connect with because my son is a very literal thinker and didn't "get" the joke. <BR/><BR/>Being willing to believe anything is important to enjoying the thirty short stories in this book. If your child can suspend disbelief then they'll love these wacky tales. But if you stall on how unreal the concept of a story is then it's hard to get past that. Sachar doesn't suspend disbelief, he assumes you've already done that and writes a story about what happens afterwards.<BR/><BR/>Most of the stories are about three pages long, which lends well to before bed reading. Each is about a different student or teacher, but they all feature a familiar cast of characters which also makes this book good for reading in small bits since each story is like an episode, a whole story on its own but expands the world of Wayside a little bit at a time. The short length of the stories will also help children still learning to read or parents who burnout on books aimed at kids balance the pros of reading together with the frustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    A great read aloud

    When our teacher first read 'Wayside School', we knew it was a silly and odd book. There's lots of funny parts like when Mrs. Gorf got turned into an apple. We laughed. The book should be good for all ages. Hope you enjoy the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    The best book I've read this quarter is 'Sideways Stories from Wayside School.' The main characters were some teachers and all the kids in Mrs. Jewel¿s class. They just pretty much say what they like. I like Todd, he gets in trouble all the time. Its pretty much this upside down school. There are thirty stories in Wayside School. There's no nineteenth floor and no Miss. Zarves. They built the classrooms on top of each other. The school is very tall. The setting is in the school. To tell funny stories is the theme. I'd like this story a lot because I like funny stories. I connected because I do funny things a lot and weird things too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    Sideways Stories is Funny!

    There are thirty characters for every chapter. They are Mrs. Gorf, Mrs. Jewels, Joe, Sharie, Todd, Bebe, Calvin, Myron, Maurecia, Paul, Dana, Jason, Randi, Sammy, Deedee, D. J., John, Leslie, Miss Zarves, Kathy, Ron, The Three Erics, Allison, Dameon, Jenny, Terrence, Joy, Nancy, Stephen, and Louis. The thirty chapters represent the thirty stories of the school. This story talks about the characters. It talks about what the characters like and don¿t like. It also talks about all the characters differences. So if you read this story you will notice they fight. It is in and outside the school in the summer. The main idea of this story is that Wayside School is sideways and has thirty stories and has thirty people in one classroom. I liked this story because it talks about what these thirty people are like. I connected to this story because everyone is different and everybody likes different things. There is another story like this one called Wayside School is Falling Down but it talks about Wayside School crashing down because it is so tall.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think that the stories from waside school is an awsome book.I enjoyed reading the book and my friends did too. My school library had the wayside story books and when my teacher was reading the books to the class everyone wanted to go and check out the book because they wanted to read along with my teacher. I loved the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2006

    way side school rocks!!!

    This book was asome .I love the stories of way side school.It is so cool how I'm so attached because i'm not a big fan of reading books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2006

    Students love it!

    I know everyone has said it, but here goes: I love it! This book is so interesting and funny it captures readers, right from the first page. It captures reluctant readers mostly because of its humour, but also because each chapter is a short story. This is especially good for children with short attention spans. In order to understand the next chapter, the children don't have to remember what happened it the previous one. As a teacher, I used this book for my class read-aloud in grade 6, as well as readers theatre! The kids also had fun creating a new student that would fit in at Wayside school. They loved it. Even though it's a Grade 4 book, the sixth graders had so much fun with it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Wayside school

    While Sherry was sleeping she fell out of the window and down nineteenth floors. The title of the book is Side way Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacker. This book is about a class that had a teacher that was a witch. Then they got a teacher that was perfectly normal. The kids in her class weren¿t that normal. The setting is in the wayside school during the school day. In every chapter it talks about a students problem so they try and solve each problem thought out the book. I thought that this book was an interesting because it has a lot of problems. Also because it is a quick read. In the book each chapter is about a kids problem. There is one kid that gets sent home on the kindergarten bus every day. Also there was a kid who fell out of the window when she was sleeping. One kid got stuck to his seat after a girl stuck a huge blob of gum on the seat. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes quick read books. I would recommend a teacher that teaches fourth or fifth grade to read the book to their class. I say that because the kids in this book are in fourth grade. I would also recommend this book to somebody who doesn¿t like to read a lot at a time. The chapters are really short so you don¿t have to read a lot at a time. It took me about a week to read this book. Each chapter is about four pages long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2006

    weird side from wayside

    Mrs. Gorf had a long tong and pointed ears. She was the meanest teacher in all of Wayside School. She warned the children that she would turn them into apples if they did anything. Was Mrs.Gorf a witch? No one knows .My book is called Sideways stories from Wayside school by Louis Sachar. Some of my favorite stories were about two kids .Sharie was a girl who weighed forty-nine pounds and she wore a big, red and blue, and fury coat. Her eye lashes weighed a pound and a half. All together she weighed eighty-five and a half pounds. Paul had the best seat in Mrs.Jewls class, he sat in the way back where nothing was heard , seen, or even smelled. He got the erg to pull girls hair. He always pulled Leslies big long smooth pigtails. One day he wanted to pull them more than anything. Paul grabbed her pigtails and yanked as hard as he could. Well what did you think so far? I think this book is so funny. They just have the weirdest kids who have funny attitudes.Mrs.Jewls is a nice and funny teacher. When she first met the kids she was scared they would be too cute, so cute the would look like monkeys. Why? I don¿t know. The author of the book was one of the characters . He described him self with a red face, a mustache of many, many colors. He was known as Louis the yard teacher. He told many crazy stories about Wayside School to the children that were very funny. I would recommend this book to people who love comedy and weird stories. The comedy are the funny parts. The weird thing about this book are the children and their lives. When Mrs.Gorf was a teacher she turned kids into apples in a weird way. Read this book if you want to find out more.

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