Friday, November 30, 2012

Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Louis Sachar

Summary:   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 tall! (The builder said he was very sorry.)

That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside School...especially on the thirtieth floor.  You'll meet Mrs. Gorf, the meanest teacher of all, terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early, and John who can read only upside down -- along with all the other kids in the crazy mixed-up school that came out sideways.  But you'll never guess the truth about Sammy, the new kid...or what's in store for Wayside School on Halloween.

My Review:   Each chapter of Sideways Stories From Wayside School tells about a student or teacher at a wacky school for the exceptionally peculiar. It all sounds great on paper, except it wasn't...great on paper, that is.  It was a veritable torture chamber of words; to say I hated it would be an epic understatement.

Sachar's attempt at off-the-wall humor was annoying and difficult to follow.  His silly just didn't make sense.  I thought, perhaps, that it was my adult-sized brain just being picky, or not getting something that was clearly aimed at children, but I kept an eye on my kids while reading to them  and most of the time they either looked confused or bored.  Their most telling reaction came on nights when we didn't have time to read it -- they didn't seem to notice or care.

Frankly, I expected much much much better from the guy who wrote Holes.  Apparently this is one of his earlier works and there are two books that follow it in the series, but I have no plans to read them or mention their existence to my children.  Ever.

My Rating: 1 Star.

For the sensitive reader:  My biggest complaints, beyond my general loathing of this book, was that it occasionally used words like "stupid" and the like.  Not "bad words," per se, but not polite either.

Sum it up:  Read Holes instead.

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