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Sideways Stories from Wayside School

(Wayside School #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  91,694 ratings  ·  2,691 reviews
A Crazy Mixed-Up School.

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 tal! (The builder said he was very sorry.)

That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside School ... especially on the thirtieth flo
Paperback, 124 pages
Published May 6th 1985 by Avon Books (first published 1978)
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Benjamin Wirtz Yes, almost as good as what is probably Sachar's most famous book, Holes.…moreYes, almost as good as what is probably Sachar's most famous book, Holes.(less)
Claire Yoon You can't read in this app…moreYou can't read in this app(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  91,694 ratings  ·  2,691 reviews

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Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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.

Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There is no 19th story.
Dec 18, 2012 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…
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: topsy turvy stories
"There is no 19th story."

I have been told by many who love this series and I've talked to people who love this book and read it as a kid. I think there is something to reading this as a child that an adult misses because it was an okay story, but it didn't do a whole lot for me. It had whimsy, but it didn't land for me.

A long school was turned on it's side and all the classrooms are stacked on top of each other like a high rise. So all the rules are different here and what is up is down and so
Mar 09, 2009 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
I had the urge to re-read these books again. My teacher read this book series out loud to us in Elementary school and it is one of my fondest memories. I was so in love with the book that I had to make sure I purchased my own copy at the book fair. After rereading it for the first time since then, I can completely see why kids would love this. It's fun, strange, and silly all in one. ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, kids
In this children’s novel, Louis Sachar tells thirty stories about kids in the highest class of a 30-story school.

I heard lots of good reviews of Louis Sachar works and bought this one to offer some friends’ children. This is not my usual genre, and I am unable to determine the target demo (10y olds?) but I must say story 28 had me laughing out loud! I found it difficult to get up and running with this one, then finally finished it at lightning speed, and enjoying it more than the first half!

May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My 7 & 10 year old daughters laughed heartily throughout much of this read, but I think I missed the window. The humor didn't quite make it to my thirtieth story.

No offense to Louis Sachar, but I just kept thinking. . . when is it going to turn into a Roald Dahl novel?

It never did.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, humor
These wacky absurd stories which may seem irreverent and sometimes mean-spirited to adults really seem to resonate with children. These stories were immediately attention grabbing for my kids and left them begging for more. The humor makes sense to the kids and they enjoyed the absolute absurdity and upside-down-ness of this school and it’s rules.

Wayside school was accidentally built 30 stories high and is leaning. Each chapter tells the reader about one student in the 30th story classroom. Thei
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2014 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
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
George Jankovic
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.

Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, younger
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 10, 2007 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
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The rating is purely for nostalgia. I read this book so many times as a child and haven't come back to it since then. I felt like I had visceral reactions to some of the chapters. I remember them so vividly. Louis Sachar has such a unique and silly imagination that young me LOVED this book. Upon re-read, this was still quite entertaining. I don't care for the new illustrations as much. It makes it seem more childish than the copy I had. This book is perfect for the kids just starting out chapter ...more
Jan 16, 2013 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
May 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 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 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
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Since there's a new Wayside School book coming out, I decided it was time to re-read the earlier books. The first two books in this series were some of my favorite books of childhood, and they still hold up! These completely absurdist books about a school that was accidentally built vertically instead of horizontally are pure fun. There's a chapter for each of the 27 students, plus several adults, and one dead rat. Every story is silly and ridiculous and just plain fun (with the possible excepti ...more
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. ...more
Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
Loved this as a kid! Passed it on to my sister and can't wait to pass it on to my children. ...more
Jun 29, 2011 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 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
can you BELIEVE this book was published in 1978 and it still holds ALL THE WAY UP???

Apr 19, 2008 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. ...more
Wart Hill
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-readers, humor
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We Read Together ...: Chapters 1-7 2 7 Apr 02, 2020 08:42AM  
The Worst Bestsel...: Episode 127 - Sideways Stories from Wayside School 1 23 Jul 03, 2019 01:23PM  

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Louis Sachar (pronounced Sacker), born March 20, 1954, is an American author of children's books.

Louis was born in East Meadow, New York, in 1954. When he was nine, he moved to Tustin, California. He went to college at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 1976, as an economics major. The next year, he wrote his first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School .

He was working

Other books in the series

Wayside School (4 books)
  • Wayside School Is Falling Down (Wayside School #2)
  • Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger (Wayside School, #3)
  • Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom

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