The Sideways Stories From Wayside School series is a popular series of 3 books by Louis Sachar. Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Wayside School is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger are the three novel-length books. In 1989, Sachar also released a spinoff, which involves two books of mathematics and puzzles interspersed with stories: Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School and More Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School. The books tell many stories of a school built as a tower 30 stories high, with one room per story, but with no 19th story. Each book contains 30 chapters, called stories, complementing the 30 stories in the school.

Stories in the book

Ch. 1 -- Mrs. Gorf
Ch. 2 -- Mrs. Jewls
Ch. 3 -- Joe
Ch. 4 -- Sharie
Ch. 5 -- Todd
Ch. 6 -- Bebe
Ch. 7 -- Calvin
Ch. 8 -- Myron
Ch. 9 -- Maurecia
Ch. 10 -- Paul
Ch. 11 -- Dana
Ch. 12 -- Jason
Ch. 13 -- Rondi
Ch. 14 -- Sammy
Ch. 15 -- Deedee
Ch. 16 -- D.J.
Ch. 17 -- John
Ch. 18 -- Leslie
Ch. 19 -- Miss Zarves
Ch. 20 -- Kathy
Ch. 21 -- Ron
Ch. 22 -- The Three Erics
Ch. 23 -- Allison
Ch. 24 -- Dameon
Ch. 25 -- Jenny
Ch. 26 -- Terrence
Ch. 27 -- Joy
Ch. 28 -- Nancy
Ch. 29 -- Stephen
Ch. 30 -- Louis

Story conventions

  • In Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School, it is revealed the characters add, subtract, and multiply words. The children at Wayside School have no concept of adding numbers until Mrs. Jewls teaches the kids 4+7=11, in numbers, not words.
  • If a student does something wrong once, Mrs. Jewls will write that student's name under the word DISCIPLINE. If a student does something wrong a second time, Mrs. Jewls will put a check next to that student's name. If a student does something wrong a third time, Mrs. Jewls will circle his/her name and send him/her home at noon on the kindergarten bus (which is very odd, as most students would seem to enjoy this). Despite only needing three strikes, Mrs. Jewls resorts to also adding a triangle when Sammy was disruptive. Despite being a good student, Todd is sent home every day on the kindergarten bus as a result of him always unfairly getting in trouble each day. Paul is also sent home on the kindergarten bus, but only once after pulling Leslie's pigtails during class. Another time, when it looks like Joy was going to be sent home early, Todd thinks he is going to have company, but Joy ends up making up for her crime. Mrs. Jewls even sends herself home early for temporarily turning evil.
  • Goozack was another word for door in the book Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. After the principal ran into his office door and spilled coffee over his clothes, he said that the word "door" was a bad word. Anyone who said "door" would get in trouble. So he introduced the word "goozack" to replace the word door. Todd was the first student to break the new rule, only because he was late for school at the time and didn't hear the announcement. Later, when Mrs. Drazil said "door" and the students pointed out that she was to call it "goozack," she immediately said "Mr. Kidswatter is a 'goozack'" in retaliation.
  • Way-High-Up-Ball is a fictional game invented by The 3 Erics. To play you need a rubber ball and a tall building. It is played in the 27th chapter (titled Way-High-Up Ball) of Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger. One player throws a ball, and whichever level story it hits is how many points are earned by the thrower. Whoever catches it receives the same amount of points. (The thrower could thus earn as many as 60 points on one throw if they also catch the ball, or if they break a window, which counts for double points). A glopper is a ball that goes straight up and back down, never touching the wall (It is never stated whether a glopper counts for points for the height it reached, or for no points at all). For the game's last-ever appearance, Louis threw the ball, and it hit somewhere between the 18th and 20th stories and never came down since there is no 19th story.
  • In all 3 stories in the Wayside School series, Chapter 19 differs strongly from other chapters. In the first story, that chapter is non-existent, in the second story, the 19th chapter takes up 3 chapters (all numbered 19) and based on Miss Zarves' classroom, a non-existent location (the last of these is followed by a chapter numbered 20, 21, and 22, all at once, about Mr. Kidswatter being called a "mugworm griblick" by one of the Erics; it is suggested that Eric Bacon did so, as he is the only Eric who writes left-handed, and the insult was written on the back of a haircut appointment card by a left-handed person). In the third story, Chapter 19 is also based on the non-existent location.
  • In all 3 books, Chapter 17 has the theme of things being done backwards. The first story is about John reading upside-down, the second story includes a chapter in which the paragraphs are read in reverse order, and the third story has a title which is paradoxical to its plot until the final sentences.
  • The last sentence of each book is "everybody _ooed." In the first book it says "everybody booed." (due to Louis telling them a bad story about a regular school) The second booked ends in "everybody mooed," after Louis asks the cows in the building to leave. The third book ends in "everybody ooohed," after Louis kisses Miss Nogard and it doesn't say if they got married.

In other media

In 2005, the Canadian-based animation company Nelvana produced an hour-long adaptation of the Wayside books. Its theme song was sung by Skye Sweetnam. A series titled Wayside based on the book and the TV special has premiered on Nickelodeon and Teletoon. Paramount Pictures released Season 1 onto DVD in Mid-August 2008.


Sachar, Louis. Sideways Stories from Wayside School. New York: Avon Books, Inc., 1978.