Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School is a collection of tales from an imaginary school that was incorrectly constructed.The school was supposed to have been built as a one-story building, thirty rooms long.But the contractor turned the building plan onto its side, and thus the school was constructed as a thirty-floor structure, only one room wide.There is no elevator...and there is also no nineteenth floor.That fact, like many others in the story, is never explained.
In Chapter 1, readers are introduced to Mrs. Gorf, who turns unruly students into apples.Mrs. Gorf defines "unruly" as anything students do that Mrs. Gorf does not like, such as talking when not spoken to or just plain sneezing in class.The rules in Mrs. Gorf's class are not easily defined or followed. Close to the end of this chapter, all of the students are sitting on Mrs. Gorf's desk, all of them having been turned into apples.But the children have the last laugh: they force Mrs. Gorf to return them back into children, and when Mrs. Gorf is about to curse them again, a student named Jenny holds up a mirror, and Mrs. Gorf turns herself into an apple.Shortly after this, Louis, the yard teacher, shows up.Without explaining to him what has happened, Mrs. Gorf's students watch silently while Louis eats Mrs. Gorf in apple form.
In Chapter 2, Mrs. Jewls arrives to teach Mrs. Gorf's students.The students are concerned about Mrs. Jewls because they have heard that she is very nice.Mrs. Jewls is likewise concerned because she had heard that her new students are too cute.When Mrs. Jewls first sees the students, though, she is startled.She cannot believe that she has been asked to teach a roomful of monkeys. The students argue that they are not monkeys.But Mrs. Jewls deflects this argument by claiming that monkeys would not know they were monkeys.
Joe is introduced in Chapter 3.Joe has his own unique way of counting, which is nothing like the way everyone else counts.In Chapter 4, readers meet Sharie, who has the habit of falling asleep in class.One day while she is asleep, Sharie falls out of the window.Thankfully, Louis catches Sharie before she hits the ground.
Mrs. Jewls has very strict rules in her classroom.One of those rules is that there should be no talking.In Chapter 5, Todd has his name written on the board because he has a good thought and wants to share it.When he utters a few words, Mrs. Jewls warns him about talking in class.When Todd...
(The entire section is 1004 words.)
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Introduction and Chapters 1-2 Summary
Wayside School is very unique. Although it was supposed to be only one story high with thirty classrooms all lined up in a row, it was accidentally built to be thirty stories high with one classroom on each story. All of the stories in this book are about the teachers and children who go to class on the top story of Wayside School.
Chapter 1: “Mrs. Gorf”
Mrs. Gorf was the meanest teacher at Wayside School. If the children were bad, she would wiggle her ears, stick out her tongue, and turn them into apples. Joe was afraid Mrs. Gorf would turn him into an apple because he couldn’t add, so he copied off of John. Mrs. Gorf caught him and turned both him and John into apples.
By the end of the day, two more children had been turned into apples, and all four apples had stay the night on Mrs. Gorf’s desk. Their parents were worried, but the other children were too afraid of Mrs. Gorf to tell what had happened. By the end of the week, all the children in the class had annoyed Mrs. Gorf in one way or another, and all had been turned into apples.
Mrs. Gorf thought she would not have to teach anymore and was ready to go home for good, but one of the apples, Todd, jumped off the desk and bopped her in the nose. All the other apples jumped on Mrs. Gorf, too. She shouted at them to stop and threatened to turn them into applesauce. The apples were not scared, however, and demanded to be turned back into children. Seeing that she had no choice, Mrs. Gorf did what they asked by sticking her tongue out first, then wiggling her ears.
When all the apples were children again, Mrs. Gorf tried to turn them back into apples—but when she began to wiggle her ears, Jenny held up a mirror, and Mrs. Gorf turned herself into an apple. Louis, the yard teacher, came into the classroom, saw the apple that was really Mrs. Gorf on the desk, and ate it.
Chapter 2: “Mrs....
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Chapters 3-5 Summary
Chapter 3: “Joe”
Joe had a problem: he could not count. One day, Mrs. Jewls put five pencils in front of him and asked him to count them. Joe said, “Four, six, one, nine, five...there are five pencils.” Somehow, Joe could always get the right answer, but he counted the wrong way.
Mrs. Jewls had Joe repeat the numbers one to ten in order with her. She then put six erasers in front of him and asked him to count them. Joe said, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten...there are ten.” This time Joe counted right, but he got the wrong answer.
No matter how Mrs. Jewls tried to teach Joe, he could not learn to count. If he said the numbers in their correct order, he got the wrong answer; only if he said the numbers in the wrong order could he get the right answer. Finally Mrs. Jewls gave up and told Joe that one day he would just wake up in the morning and suddenly be able to count.
Sure enough, when Joe woke up the next day, he could count; he counted the hairs on his head and discovered that he had “fifty-five thousand and six.” Joe wondered why he should even go to school if he could just wake up in the morning and know what he needed to know.
Chapter 4: “Sharie”
Sharie was very tiny and always wore a big, red-and-blue overcoat to school. Every day she sat next to the window and just stared outside; for some reason, Mrs. Jewls thought she was “the best student in the class.” One day it was very hot, but Sharie still wore her overcoat. The heat made her tired, and she fell asleep in her seat. Tossing and turning, she fell out the window.
Because Mrs. Jewls’s classroom was on the thirtieth story, Sharie had a long way to fall. After she had gone about ten stories, she woke up, but she did not know where she was and went back to sleep. Fortunately, Louis, the yard teacher, saw Sharie fall out the...
(The entire section is 664 words.)
Chapters 6-8 Summary
Chapter 6: “Bebe”
Bebe could draw pictures faster than anyone. During art period, she could create “fifty cats, a hundred flowers, twenty dogs.” Calvin, who did not think he was a very good artist, decided that he would just help Bebe with her drawing. As she quickly drew her many pictures, he would pick up her finished papers and set new, clean papers in front of her. This allowed Bebe to draw even more pictures in the time set aside for art.
One day, Mrs. Jewls asked Calvin why he did not draw his own pictures. Calvin laughingly told her that he could not draw nearly as well as Bebe; in the time Bebe could create a hundred pictures, he would only be able to make one. Mrs. Jewls responded by saying:
That isn’t how you measure art. It isn’t how many pictures you have, but how good the pictures are.
Hearing this, Bebe ran out of the room and looked like she was going to cry. She told Louis, the yard teacher, that she was going home to draw a picture of a cat, but when Louis asked her to bring it to school the next day to show him, she said that she could not. It would take much longer than that for her to finish her drawing this time!
Chapter 7: “Calvin”
One day Mrs. Jewls asked Calvin to take a note to Miss Zarves on the nineteenth story. When Calvin tried to tell her there was no nineteenth story and no Miss Zarves, Mrs. Jewls became impatient and threatened to send him home on the kindergarten bus. Calvin left the classroom but did not know what to do. To make matters even worse, Mrs. Jewls had not given him a note.
Calvin saw Louis, the yard teacher, out on the playground, and asked him what to do. Louis told him:
You are not supposed to take no notes to no teachers. You already haven’t done it.
Calvin decided that he would have to...
(The entire section is 623 words.)
Chapters 9-11 Summary
Chapter 9: “Maurecia”
Everyone in the class liked Maurecia, but Maurecia only liked ice cream. Maurecia would bring an ice cream cone to school every day and keep it in her desk until lunchtime. She brought all kinds of flavors, but eventually she got tired of them all. By that time, the inside of her desk was a sticky mess, and—what was worse—now Maurecia did not like anything.
Mrs. Jewls did not like seeing Maurecia so unhappy. She invented a new flavor of ice cream for Maurecia; it was called “Maurecia-flavored ice cream.” Everyone liked Maurecia-flavored ice cream, but to Maurecia it had no taste. The next day, Mrs. Jewls brought in “Joe-flavored ice cream.” Maurecia and...
(The entire section is 517 words.)
Chapters 12-14 Summary
Chapter 12: “Jason”
One day Jason tattled on Joy, who had a mouth full of gum. He then jumped out of his seat and wrote Joy’s name on the blackboard under DISCIPLINE himself. While he was up, Joy took the gum out of her mouth and put it on his chair. When Jason sat back down, he was stuck. Mrs. Jewls got angry at Joy and told her she would have to go home on the kindergarten bus.
Jason could not get out of his chair. Mrs. Jewls threw ice water all over him to try to make the gum less sticky, but it did not work. Now poor Jason was “wet and...cold and...still stuck!”
Mrs. Jewls decided that the only way to get Jason unstuck would be to cut off his pants. She...
(The entire section is 598 words.)
Chapters 15-17 Summary
Chapter 15: “Deedee”
Deedee loved recess. Everyday as soon as the recess bell rang, she would run downstairs to the playground from the thirtieth story. When she got there, she would ask Louis for a green ball or a red one, but someone always beat her to it. By the time Deedee got down to the playground, only the yellow ball was left, but the yellow ball was no good.
One day Deedee asked Mrs. Jewls if she could go out to recess early, and Mrs. Jewls said she could if she could spell Mississippi. Deedee was not a good speller, and by the time she spelled the word right, she was late for recess. Needless to say, Deedee did not get the green ball or the red one that day either....
(The entire section is 597 words.)
Chapters 18-21 Summary
Chapter 18: “Leslie”
Leslie had “ten adorable little toes,” but she did not know what to do with them. She told Louis, the yard teacher, “I don’t know what to do with my toes.” Louis told Leslie that if she did not want her toes, she could cut them off and give them to him. Louis would then pass them on to Miss Mush, the lunch teacher, so she could make little hot dogs out of them.
Louis told Leslie that he would give her five cents apiece for her toes, and Leslie thought that was a pretty good idea. When she told Louis he could have her toes for a nickel apiece, however, Louis wanted to see them first. He then decided they were not worth the full amount he had promised, so the...
(The entire section is 562 words.)
Chapters 22-24 Summary
Chapter 22: “The Three Erics”
There were three Erics in Mrs. Jewls’s class: Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens. All three of the Erics had nicknames.
Eric Bacon’s nickname was “Fatso” even though he was the skinniest kid in the class. Because the other two Erics were fat, everyone thought all Erics were fat. Eric Bacon hated his nickname.
Eric Fry really was big, but he was the best athlete in the class, because his body was all muscle. However, because the other two Erics were clumsy, no one noticed how good Eric Fry really was at sports. While playing baseball one day, Eric Fry just missed making a spectacular catch. Everyone assumed he was a poor player, so they...
(The entire section is 645 words.)
Chapters 25-27 Summary
Chapter 25: “Jenny”
Jenny came to school late one day, but when she raced up to her classroom, there was no one there. Jenny did not know what to do, so she took out her spelling book and began to do some work. Suddenly a man with a black mustache and an attaché case burst into the room. Jenny jumped from her seat, but the man ordered her to sit back down and began to ask her questions.
The man asked Jenny what she was doing there and where the rest of her class was. When Jenny suggested that perhaps the class had gone on a field trip, the man snapped that they indeed had not. He asked Jenny if she had been puzzled when she had arrived in class and found that no one was there. The man...
(The entire section is 645 words.)
Chapters 28-30 Summary
Chapter 28: “Nancy”
Nancy was a boy who hated his name because it was a girl’s name. He had only one friend, a very pretty girl from another class. Nancy did not know her name, and she did not know his either.
One day, Nancy discovered that his friend’s name was Mac and that she hated her name too. Nancy and Mac decided to trade names; they both spun around a hundred times, and when they were done, “Mac was Nancy and Nancy was Mac.”
The other children in Mrs. Jewls’s class liked the idea of trading names and decided that they wanted to do it, too. Everyone started spinning around in all different directions, and when they were done, no one knew who anybody was....
(The entire section is 627 words.)