Literary Criticism and Significance
Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School, which the San Antonio Express-News named one of the 100 All-Time Favorite Children's Books, was the first book Sachar wrote.Sachar claims that the characters in this book come from real examples of students he once knew.While going to college, Sachar worked as a teacher's aide in an elementary school around the San Francisco area. He also states that one of his jobs at the school was to supervise the play yard, and he became known as "Louis the Yard Teacher," similar to one of the characters in this book.
Writing for the Tacoma News Tribune, Kathleen Merryman referred to the popularity of Sachar's first book, Sideways Stories From Wayside School in this way:"kids go to sleep" with it hidden "under their covers."Merryman added: "kids welcome a rainy weekend" because it gives them more time to read Sachar's book and to pretend that they attend Sachar's imaginary school.Michele Lemmon, a reviewer for Columbus Dispatch, described the school found in Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School like this:The Wayside School is "a hilarious place about which almost every third- and fourth-grader has read." Although parents sometimes find these stories strange, children often cannot stop laughing at them.
To help promote parents reading to their children, Kendal A. Rautzham, writing for the Buffalo News, recommended that parents choose Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School.Rautzham's reasoning is that the stories are "wild and zany." Rautsham pointed out that Sachar's work has "enjoyed non-stop success since it was first published."The book strikes "a chord with elementary age kids everywhere," Rautzham claimed.
Anne Dingus, writing for the Texas Monthly, learned in an interview with Sachar that the author receives a steady stream of mail from his readers, especially the youngest of his readers of his first novel.Sideways Stories From Wayside School has been named as one of the most favored books of school students since it was first published in 1978.Over eight million copies have been printed.Overall, Dingus found Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School to be "wacky."
Sachar's novels are also available as audio books. After listening to the taped stories, Ruth Heeseplink, writing for AudioFile Magazine, found the stories "ranging from hilarious to ridiculous, zany, shaggy, and just plain odd," which is apparently what students like best.