Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sideways Stories from Wayside School...

      I am constantly looking for books that make kids (especially boys) want read. Sideways Stories from Wayside School fits that bill perfectly. It has the crazy sense of humor that children love, it has short chapters that any reader can get through, and it makes fun of school. What more could a kid want from a book?

     Sideways Stories from Wayside School is about a school that was accidentally built with one classroom on each floor. It was suppose to be a one floor school with thirty classrooms side by side but they made a mistake and now they have an extra large playground. There are 30 chapters in the book, one for each character yet all the characters are in the classroom on the thirtieth floor. Each chapter is a whole story unto itself and can be read in any order. However you should read this book first before you read the rest of the series because it introduces all of the characters.

     Louis Sachar is an incredible children's author. He understands the crazy logic of children. In one chapter he writes "Dana had four beautiful eyes. She wore glasses. But her eyes were so beautiful that the glasses only made her prettier. With two eyes she was pretty. With four eyes she was beautiful. With six eyes she would have been even more beautiful and if she had a hundred eyes, why, she would have been the most beautiful creature in the world." (pg. 43) In the same chapter the teacher says "We have all kinds of arithmetic," said Mrs. Jewls, "addition without carrying, addition with carrying, and carrying without addition." (pg. 44) It doesn't even make sense, but I am sure that's what my student's hear when I start talking about math. Then, since Dana is covered in mosquito bites, the class starts to do mosquito math to get them from itching.  Each chapter is just as crazy as this one and children love them.

     My favorite chapter is 30. Louis. Amazingly Louis Sachar has written himself into the book, and he even says so in the chapter. Ironically, he is the yard teacher at Wayside School and his job is to make sure that the kids don't have fun at recess and lunch. As if to finish off a good joke "Louis", the yard teacher, tells the children on the thirtieth floor about this weird school that has all of its classrooms on the ground level.  The Wayside School students react with shock and disbelief as they learn that none of the students at the other school "don't trade names or read upside down. They can't turn mosquito bites into numbers. They don't count the hairs on their heads. The walls don't laugh, and two, plus two always equals four." (pg. 117) It's a perfectly silly way to end the book!

     This is one of those books that is a good read for adults and for children. I can't wait to introduce it to my class. I know that they will want to read the whole series, and that's my goal to make them readers.

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