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Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School (Wayside School)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,395 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Why does elf + elf = fool? How many meals will Miss Mush, the lunch teacher, have to cook for the food to taste as bad as it smells? This book is packed full of brain teasers and maths puzzles and all the wacky pupils from Wayside School to help you find the logical solutions to all the problems.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 15, 2009 Annie rated it liked it
What? I had no idea that this book had actual PUZZLES in it! As a kid I thought it was some sort of dada-ist experiment with absurdity and language. I wasn't that amused either. But, as a superfan of the Wayside School series, I still gave it three stars.
Jun 28, 2008 Sam rated it it was amazing
Want to help a young kid get on the right track with higher-level math? After they've fallen for the original Sideways Stories from Wayside School, they should give this book a shot. In short, the "reader" finds himself in Wayside School's bizarre math class, where equations all go like this:

+ elf

Words + words = words... the thing is, your job is to figure out what the numbers are. For starters, the "f" in the answer has to equal 1, because two single-digit numbers can't add up to more
(Guided reading)
Jenny D
Jun 23, 2011 Jenny D added it
Shelves: ece-6391-6392
Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School goes with Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School, using a similar story type and the same characters. This book can be used as an upward extension for students who have a good understanding of algebra. The later chapters are more appropriate for middle school math, but students in grades 4-5 can try to solve the arithmetic in the early chapters. Because the arithmetic uses “sideways” logic, students who rely on the algorithms to solve math wil ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Elisabeth added it
Shelves: books-i-own

Why does elf + elf = fool?How many meals will Miss Mush, the lunch teacher, have to cook for the food to taste as bad as it smells?These Sideways Arithmetic problems may look puzzling at first, but you can use real maths to solve them, and the answers are right there in the book. There are lots of clues and hints; plus all the answers are in the back of the book. Best of all, all the kids you read about in the other books about Wayside School are here to help you!Try solving this, and more than

Aug 15, 2014 Trever rated it it was ok
I'm not sure this should be classified as arithmetic. Most of the problems were just pure substitution and guess and check. Very difficult for students who struggle and too mind numbing for any enrichment.
May 13, 2008 Sofi rated it really liked it
Oh my god! I loved this book! I used to spend hours doing the puzzles. I swear one of Mr. Buhler's extra credits came staight out of this book.
Rachel Hancock
Mar 08, 2012 Rachel Hancock rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-series
"Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School" is part of Louis Sachar's famous and ever-popular series, "Sideways Stories from Wayside School." In this book, Louis Sachar takes readers inside a bizarre math class at Wayside School. The book includes wacky arithmetics and absurd problems for students to try to work out.

As much as I enjoy Louis Sachar's writing, I did not love this book. I feel like it would be beneficial for older readers (perhaps 3rd and 4th grade), however, I think it would likely
Jun 17, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tired of doing Sudoku or cross words, but you would still like to challenge your brain a little bit. Try reading Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. I had so much fun sitting down trying to figure out these word, no math, no word... oh, well... these problems. The zany stories that go with the problems are very much straight out out Wayside school from Louis Sachar's Wayside School series. The stories in this book are fun to read, and they lead into problems that are fun to ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Vida rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meant for young readers, this book had me confused and unable to follow. There are 30 chapters which are 30 vignettes about students and teachers in the Wayside school. I found it a bit mean spirited. Sorry Louis Sachar - I hate when I get a bad review!
Jan 15, 2015 Chibimagic rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Still hard enough to be a challenge after all these years, but simple enough that you don't need an advanced math class to do it all. Strikes a great balance between the two.
This is going to sound so stupid, but I read this in elementary school. It never really clicked. I don't doubt it's probably useful for other kids, though.
Feb 09, 2016 Marissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-reads
Reading level 5 is correct, but let me be honest: I am just as bad at these puzzles at 33 as I was at 10. (Though f I didn't get frustrated after about 3 minutes on any of them, I'd probably be better.)

I'll crack you some day, Sideways Arithmetic. ::shakes fist::
Jan 24, 2016 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a little hard to get the answers at first, but then I got the answers right away. I think most people will like it.
Jul 23, 2015 Shirley rated it liked it
My younger brother probably got this from the scholastic book club and even tho I'm terrible at math, it's still a fun book.
May 09, 2015 Chloe rated it really liked it
Very funny and a little confusing. I loved it and the rest of the series
Resti  Triyuliandha
Aug 26, 2014 Resti Triyuliandha rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Learning Arithmetic from Wayside School was waaaaay more difficult than arithmetic when I was at school years before.
Thank God I didn't study in Wayside School.
It still fun though. And confusing at the same time. lol
Ekata Niraula
May 07, 2014 Ekata Niraula rated it it was ok
What is this?? my mind was spinning while trying to do some airthmetic
Delicious Strawberry
Nov 06, 2012 Delicious Strawberry rated it really liked it
Shelves: louis-sachar
Louis Sachar has written some pretty great children's books and I read many of them back in elementary school. This was one of them, and is part of the weird Wayside School series, where nothing makes sense if you try to understand it. However, if you don't try, and just sit back and enjoy this book for its weird storytelling, it become a fun experience. In this installment, you're introduced to some pretty weird math, like 'elf + elf = fool'. Wait, what? Well, read this book and find out!
Mao Mao
Aug 11, 2015 Mao Mao rated it it was amazing
The math problems are very interesting. I often work on them at camp at Belmont Hill School during lunch or at movie time.
Sep 15, 2008 Kat rated it it was amazing
I found this book in a box from when I was younger. I LOVE this book. It is a bunch of fun math problems such as "ewe + dell = woods", where you try to figure out the numbers that are represented by each letter, as well as some good word problems. It makes it especially fun because he uses the characters from his "Wayside School" series, so for any out there that are fans of the Wayside School and fun logic problems, you can't beat this.
Nov 04, 2010 Abbey rated it really liked it
Its mainly about sue not understanding + and - words. So for example apples + oranges and sue said fruit but Im not going to tell you the answer because you need to read the story to figure it out! In the mean time they have all these questions they need to answer. The class wants to now the answers but the teacher forgot all the answers. At the end of the story the teacher finds the answers and tells the class.
Sara Trivedi
Jan 29, 2013 Sara Trivedi rated it really liked it
Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School was another recommendation from my 2nd-grader. We both really enjoy working out puzzles, both word and math, so this is exactly the type of book to keep us engrossed for much longer than we needed to be. There are still many, many problems we have yet to solve, but we enjoyed Sachar's humor throughout the book. I'm looking forward to reading more from this series.
Apr 12, 2013 Kalia rated it liked it
This book is totally all about math, except in words. It is probably the hardest book i have read in my entire life. It was soooooooo hard to solve the problems. I managed to solve a few but the rest I had to skip because they were sooooo hard for me to do. I am only in fifth grade and I will probably learn that in 6th grade. It was still a good book and I enjoyed it a lot.
Julie S.
This was strange as would be expected from Louis Sachar. Some laughs. This reminded me why I loved the Wayside School books. I may just have pull them off my shelf and reread some chapters. I feel some nostalgia for gross lunches, dead rats infiltrating the classroom, teachers with cowbells, and the missing floor (was it the 19th floor?- I can't remember).
Emma Nolan
Aug 29, 2009 Emma Nolan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids
Recommended to Emma by: teacher
I was so excited to be doing the homework the kids from Wayside School were doing. My mom was always doing logic puzzles herself, and as a kid I would sit with her and help her with them. So with a little bit of explanation from my mom that these were like that, I could get into it. I must've done the problems over and over again many times.
Jan 11, 2014 Tanya rated it liked it
it was confusing but fun
Jenni Eden
Apr 14, 2016 Jenni Eden rated it it was amazing
I love all of the Sideways books. This one was interesting in it's own way. I hated, and still am not a big fan of math. This book made math interesting and amusing. I do like puzzles and things. Maybe that had some to do with it.
Griffin J.
Jun 11, 2014 Griffin J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't read this...
Aug 27, 2010 Kbord rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The wacky arithmetic doesn't make much sense, but it's absurd in the best way. Not quite as good as the narrative Wayside School books, but still plenty of fun. I gave a copy to a math teacher at the end of a school year.
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Louis Sachar (pronounced Sacker), born March 20, 1954, is an American author of children's books.

More about Louis Sachar...

Other Books in the Series

Wayside School (5 books)
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Wayside School #1)
  • Wayside School Is Falling Down (Wayside School #2)
  • More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School
  • Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger (Wayside School #3)

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