Friday, July 26, 2013

Review Me Twice: Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

I love this book. I love everything about it. And I have since the first time I read it, which must have been in early elementary school. I can honestly say, without exaggerating, that I have read this book (and Wayside School is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger) over a hundred times.

You see, Wayside School was built sideways, so it's 30 stories tall, with one classroom on each story. There is no nineteenth story. Miss Zarves teaches on the nineteenth story. There is no Miss Zarves. The lunch lady, Miss Mush, can't cook anything well, and runs out of "nothing" - the most popular hot lunch - daily. Louis the Yard Teacher is based on the author, and often plays a part in the students' stories.

In this book, every chapter is about a different student. They each have their weird quirks and each story is built around that. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite from this book, but the first one that comes to mind is Maurecia, who loves ice cream, so Mrs. Jewls (their teacher) creates Maurecia-flavored ice cream, but Maurecia can't taste it... but everyone else loves it. So Mrs. Jewls makes a flavor for each kid in the class, and it turns out the flavors are what that person tastes when they're tasting nothing. That's the kind of silliness you get from each story.

There are also two math books in the series, called Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School and More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School, with funny logic puzzles and students insisting that TWO + TWO = FOUR (but SEVEN + FOUR does not equal ELEVEN). It's verbal arithmetic and it is SO MUCH FUN. There's even a self-referential true/false test that would probably still stump me.

My excitement for this book is not as intense as Alex's is.  I was read the first two Wayside Stories books and I loved them and remember laughing at them a ton when I heard them. (Our para-professional used to read us books in-between when my teacher left for lunch and when it was actually time for us to GO to lunch.)

And this goes back to when I was talking about reading book now vs. then.  As a kid, I thought they were HYSTERICAL stories.  But I didn't read them like Alex did, so now, I think they're great kids books, but they're definitely kids books.  The humor just didn't have the same effect on me as it did at one time.

(Though, all the chapters are numbered - 30 stories because there are 30 stories in Wayside school.  Chapter 19 says "There is no story 19.  There is no Miss Zarves." and I have to admit, that still made me chuckle.)

My Bottom Line 4 out of 5

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