Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #91

Happy Friday, y’all!  Although I hope that everyday feels like a Friday now that summer vacay has arrived!!! 


(Is it sad that I still get so excited for summer vacation after all these years?)

I feel like this next title on our list may have been something I read over summer vacation about ten billion years ago when I was a wee child.  It’s definitely one of those titles that children choose on their own as opposed to a more classic title that teachers and parents alike ooh and aah over (and then assign a book report about).  (We’ll save my opinions on book reports for another day.) 

Novel #91 is Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

This book has thirty some-odd short chapters, each about a different zany character at the school.  (Did I just say “zany”?)  (Am I turning into a “parent” who uses “out of date phrases”?)  (Or perhaps I am becoming someone who misuses air quotes?)  Anyhow, it starts off with a chapter about the class’ first teacher who turned naughty children into apples and while I admire a girlfriend’s ability to put rude children in their place, this portrayal of a teacher is a little too stereotypical for me.  All teacher-who-actually-hates-children-and-any-item-of-clothing-that-is-remotely-fashionable.  It’s a little much.  However, I do think kids will find this book to be hilarious.  

I kept trying to picture myself reading it out loud to my class and just couldn’t.  Perhaps one of you out there, oh wonderful readers, can tell me I’m wrong?  And while I can’t say that it would be the first book I’d recommend to a little friend, I also can’t say I would never recommend it at all.  Anything to get them reading and loving it, right?  I mean, at some point in the year I’m all, “read on a pillow, read on the floor, read a joke book, read the newspaper, read on your head for the love of God just get reading and LOVE IT!” 

Maybe I was a bit more subtle and enthusiastic than that, but you get my point. 

On with the list!  Next up is #90, Sarah Plain and Tall…see you next Friday!  Until then, enjoy the sunshine and the lack of an alarm clock!


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  • This book has been a favorite of mine since childhood! I've read it to my classes the past two years and they absolutely loved it. In fact, my last class loved it so much, I got stuck reading all three of the Sideways stories chapter books to them. About three month of "zaniness" is a bit too much!

    July 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm
  • I read this book aloud to 2nd graders at the very end of last year. They loved it (especially chapter 19…which they wanted me to read over and over and over) and it was pretty fun to end the year on.

    July 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm
  • This is the first book that I read to my third graders every year and I haven't had a class that didn't love it. In fact my fellow teacher all read it last year. In the past I have changed the names of the kids in the book to match children in the classroom. In case you are wondering, my favorite chapters are 14 and 19 (I think), Sammy and Mrs. Zarves.

    July 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm
  • I loved this book, and series, when I was younger! I gave this to my husband, who doesn't read a whole lot, and he loved it, too! I had to beg him to put it down and turn off the light so we could sleep. 😀

    July 10, 2010 at 1:12 am
  • Reaching back into memory, I don't think that this was a book that any of my teachers read to the class, but I think it was one that was quite prominent in the classroom and school libraries – I read both Sideways Stories and Wayside School is Falling Down.

    I bought it last year to have as a "last five minutes" back-up to read with Year 7 students, and while they liked it, I had greater success with reading it with a English as an Additional Language student during his one-to-one lessons – he would go off and read a chapter a week and then tell me what happened. I ended up giving him the book when his tutoring was finished!

    Louis Sachar's other book, "Holes" is quite good for classroom study too! A bit older than "Sideways . ." but the kids really like it and Disney does a great video version!

    July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm
  • My first graders loved this as a read aloud. You've never heard such laughter… 🙂

    July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm
  • I have read aloud this book to my 4th graders four years in a row. In fact, I have read the second and third books aloud too. It was our after lunch ritual! The kidos always loved the and they made connections from each book, too!

    July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm
  • A favorite read-aloud for my 4th graders also – they like the silly situations, word play, crazy characters, and the ever wise Louise the Yard Teacher; this series has helped several reluctant readers discover the joy of reading

    July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm
  • Y'all have changed my mind. Sounds like this book is a hit for a read aloud and the short chapters do make it PERF for those emergency "holy crap what am I going to do NOW?" five minutes that pop up during the day from time to time. Plus, we could all use a little more laughter in our classrooms, right?

    July 12, 2010 at 4:13 pm
  • I know I'm late to the party, but as a sub I've read this to 2nd thru 5th this year, and they've all asked for more!

    July 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm

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