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Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Wayside School #1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  76,754 Ratings  ·  1,928 Reviews
There'd been a terrible mistake. Wayside School was supposed to be built with thirty classrooms all next to each other in a row. Instead, they built the classrooms one on top of the other...thirty stories tall! (The builder said he was very sorry.)
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Turtleback Books (first published 1978)
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Jan 06, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the young at heart
If you want to see exactly what rests at the center of someone’s soul, don’t bother reading a 200-page biography on them; ask them what was the first book ever to make an impression on them that lasted into their adulthood. For some it might be some garbage about a brat named Ramona and her ginger-kid friends, and these people embrace a passion for whimsy and camaraderie. Others have a deep-rooted sense of ‘self’ from cherishing the trails and tribulations of some chick named Margaret menstruati ...more
Mar 04, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the only chapter book I've read to my class this year that has caused them to demand more chapters, beg for a quick chapter here and there throughout the day and I've even had to re-read several chapters to them. There is just something about absurdity mixed with keen observations of school days reality that gets kids every time.

Dec 18, 2012 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery
We pulled this unassuming little book out of my husband’s childhood bookshelf over Thanksgiving break (my in-laws seriously never get rid of anything) and we had absolutely no idea what kind of wonderful craziness lay waiting for us inside. We had been reading The Phantom Tollbooth…but I kind of sort of accidentally/on purpose left it at home.

Listen, I’m not saying The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t a brilliant book…with the wit and the puns and the wit and the plays on perspective and the…wit…and the…
There is no 19th story.
Mar 09, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember loving this book at some point during my childhood. Re-reading it as an adult confirms that I was a very strange child. What an awesomely weird book! Teachers turning into apples and being eaten by recess monitors! Dead rats in raincoats passing as ornery new students!

One particularly bizarre, hilarious passage:

"In Mrs. Jewls' class there were three children named Eric: Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens. They were known throughout the school for being fat. Eric Fry sat at this end
Sep 05, 2011 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Louis Sachar you are such a gifted children’s writer. I’ve loved all of your books (from the social injustice of Holes to the touching There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom). But the Wayside School books will always have a special place in my heart as the funniest and goofiest. Sachar uses a lot of puns, wordplay, and zany situations and that’s probably why as an adult my most favorite type of humor is irony with a little bit of absurdity. Here is a taste:

“Dana had four beautiful eyes. She wor
This was my reaction when I realized that I have not forgotten to pack this book for my Mumbai trip.

And this was my expression throughout the period when I was reading the book.


I had so many expectations from it and maybe that led to the epic fall. I so wanted to like it. I wanted another Wimpy Kid in my kitty on which I can fall back on whenever I need.

But this is no Wimpy Kid, oh hell, it sucks as intensely as the Fudge kid in Fudge-a-mania.

Here are some drudgery tales served on a please-lik
George Jankovic
Dec 15, 2016 George Jankovic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a script for a play, not a book. It's a super cute fantasy story happening in a school where very strange things happen. For kids ages 8-11.

My fourth-grade homeroom teacher read this to our class, only she substituted names of the students and teachers in the book with the names of the students in our class (I was Leslie -- how I remember that, I have no idea) and the other teachers in our grade. Hilarity ensued, I assure you.

A lot of my elementary school teachers liked reading to their homeroom classes during downtime, and I always loved it. This book stands out as one of my all-time favourite read-to-me-books, probably because of
Jan 16, 2013 Pink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
January 20, Chapter 1

I think Mrs.Gorf is a really mean teacher, because she turned her students into an apple, when they did nothing wrong.

January 27 , Chapter 2

Mrs. Jewls is a kind teacher, she thinks that her students are terribly cute. And she plans to give them a banana, because she thought that they look like a monkey.

February 3, Chapter 3

Joe is a boy who can't count properly.I think it's funny when he can only count backwards, but will still get the correct answer when Mr's Jewls ask him q
Jun 10, 2007 Blanca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, childrens
Louis Sachar was unwittingly my primer for my love of absurdist and magical realism literature. In my 5th grade English class, we read this book and I remember there was nothing we were more collectively excited about except maybe that mock presidential campaign where Michael Dukakis won by a landslide in the halls of George Washington Carver- Anson Jones Elementary, if nowhere else in the country. Our enthusiasm for the wacky capers of the students and the yard teacher inspired a class project ...more
May 04, 2013 Patti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Upon the recommendation of an enthusiastic 3rd grader in my grandson’s class, I checked out his most favorite book from this year – “Sideways Stories From Wayside School”. Two other kids concurred so that was enough for me to finally read what was also a favorite of several students I had as an elementary librarian. So away I went with a copy from their library.

Surprisingly, I have mixed feelings for this book that the kids find so hilarious. It’s a different kind of humor that is just wacky, ir
Jed L
Sep 02, 2011 Jed L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I picked up this book again because I was reminded of it while reading Catch-22. Sideways stories was one of my favorite books growing up as a kid and I think it set me up to enjoy Catch-22 as well. Sideways Stories is eccentrically funny, but also surprisingly deep in symbolism and metaphor. The premise of the book is a school built sideways--that is 30 stories high instead of 30 classrooms longs. There are 30 chapters and each chapter is about a certain character. Some of these chapters are ju ...more
Jun 02, 2007 aisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

unbelievably great. it cracks me up regulary ("take a train, peanut brain!" being one of my favorite lines). children's books are fantastic bedtime readings - they are usually short, relatively simple, and - in the case of the whole wayside collection - ridiculously entertaining and clever. i fear the day this becomes a film (unless my college roommate writes and directs it) because all of the kids are such unique and well developed characters, it has to be incred
Colleen Venable
This is absolutely the most perfect book I have ever read for this age group. Brilliant, hysterical, and seemingly simplistic, the book is anything but. I was shocked re-reading it as an adult how stunningly original all the small stories that make up this book are. If you haven't read it since you were young, I INSIST you pick it up again. The best in the bunch: icecream flavored like kids and the invisible note for the invisible teacher on the invisible floor.
Loved this as a kid! Passed it on to my sister and can't wait to pass it on to my children.
Aug 23, 2008 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger, school
Sachar captures how arbitrary and pointless and incomprehensible school can be. But somehow, he makes it funny and touching instead of confusing and frustrating and awful like it is in real life.
Jun 29, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was only half-way interested in reading this book out loud to my son, who received it as an end of year gift from his second grade teacher. I expected it to be kind of dumb because I knew it was meant to be "funny", and my idea of funny doesn't always overlap with a seven-year-old's. But we tried it for lack of other reading material at hand, and it turned out I was captivated by the oddness of it. The stories, 30 of them, to match the 30 stories of Wayside School (which was accidentally built ...more
Matt Mazenauer
Sep 05, 2007 Matt Mazenauer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that taught me that humor doesn't always have to follow the rules. The absurdism absolutely flavored all my daydreams from then on. All in all, it's actually a painfully short book and it's so weird that it makes one's brian stumble a bit at places. I guess that's what's great about it.
Wart Hill
Aug 20, 2016 Wart Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, young-readers
Apr 19, 2008 Tessie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It's one of my favorites. It's absolutely hilarious. You totally have to read it.
Jul 14, 2014 Paolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This isn't a review of Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

What this is the mysterious set of events that surrounded a particular copy of this book that I found in a little neighbourhood library in Baltimore. Or rather, a particular copy of this book that found me.

It happened innocently enough. I was picking out books that other libraries in the system needed from my branch. A daily task. A mundane work day. I reached out to pick out Marley: Marley Learns a Lesson, when another b
Destinee Sutton
Apr 14, 2009 Destinee Sutton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm rereading this for the first time since elementary school, and I gotta say, I'm really blown away by the sheer absurdity of it. It reminds me of James Marshall's George and Martha stories: absurd, but lovely in that they never apologize for being absurd or wink at you from beneath the absurdity. It's just absurd all the way down, sincerely and deeply absurd. I imagine after you graduate from George and Martha, you move on to Wayside, and from there you're ready for Beckett and Camus.
Here's to another series I LOVED as a kid.

I checked the audiobook out of the library a couple of years ago for Eleanor, but she was NOT interested. A couple months ago, I tried again and she gave it a shot. She loved it.

Shortly after, I checked this out to read to all three girls. Man, I can't believe how good they still are. My goodreads shelf tells me that the last time I read this was back in 2005. I could read this one every year.

As I've mentioned before, these kid reviews seriously inflate
Sep 26, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
My kids and I just finished reading this book aloud one story a night. The humorous stories and ridiculous situations entertained all three kids (aged 4 through 8) and I found myself laughing aloud with them ad the adventures of the kids on the 30th story.

Each story focuses primarily on a different character so trying to lump all of the characters together into a single review category is difficult. The two character persistent throughout the book, Mrs. Jewls and Louis, are interesti
Apr 22, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children
Recommended to Jason by: Lord only knows, that was ages ago
Shelves: child-lit, 2014, humor
The only thing I remembered about this book from the long, long ago when I read it was that I really liked it. I just bought it and the 2 sequels for my niece, and had to check it out again before passing it on to her. I'm glad I read it again as it gave me a nice jaunt down memory lane. I never read the sequels, and am not going to read them now due to having so much other stuff to read, but I'm sure she'll like them.

Right off the bat in chapter one we have an evil bitch of a teacher named Mrs.
Logan Wohlt
May 28, 2014 Logan Wohlt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2012 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
I started reading this book with our girls this summer, but we never really got into it and it got set aside for months. We started again in earnest and read a few stories each night.

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It's entertaining, but very bizarre. There were so many places in this book that I just had to shake my head or shrug and say "hmmm..." to our girls. The format is novel and the characters are interesting, but very one-dimensional. We had a few chuckles reading this
Travis Bughi
At some point in my elementary schooling, my mom got me a private tutor for a couple months. I'm not entirely sure why, because I don't remember ever struggling in school, but all I remember is that her name was the month I was born in (April) and she had me read this book with her.

I found it clever, the many interesting twists and play on words, especially the one where the kid kept getting his math questions right despite doing the method wrong.

All in all, though, I did not find it for me, for
Apr 11, 2013 ABC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Gorf is such an apple.

Why isn't this book more famous? It is hilarious and clever--both my son and I loved it. I don't think it gets "pushed" by booksellers that much. Even though it was published in 1978, I had never even heard of it. My son asked me if there was a second book and I said, "Yes," and he asked if there was a third and luckily I could say, "Yes."

It kind of reminds me the "My Weird School" series (totally clueless teacher) but I liked this better. I think it must be harder th
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Caliber Beta Dragons: Sideways Stories from Wayside School 3 5 Apr 30, 2015 01:35PM  
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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)
  • Wayside School Is Falling Down (Wayside School #2)
  • Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School (Wayside School #2.5)
  • More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School (Wayside School #2.6)
  • Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger (Wayside School #3)

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“You need a reason to be sad. You don't need a reason to be happy.” 294 likes
“It's funny how a person can be right all the time and still be wrong.” 15 likes
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