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       Sideways Stories from Wayside School, p.1
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         Part #1 of Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
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Sideways Stories from Wayside School


  Louis Sachar

  Sideways Stories from Wayside School

  2004, EN, Kids

  There has been a terrible mistake. Wayside School was supposed to have been built with thirty classrooms all next to each other in a row. Instead it was built with the thirty classrooms all on top of each other – thirty storeys high! That may be why all kinds of strange stuff happens at Wayside School. Especially on the thirtieth floor. It is a school full of unusual characters too. Mrs Gorf, the meanest teacher in the world. Terrible Todd who always gets sent home early. John who can only read upside down. It is a crazy mixed-up school, brilliantly brought to life by the irresistible Louis Sachar.

  Table of contents

  Introduction

  1: Mrs. Gorf

  2: Mrs. Jewls

  3: Joe

  4: Sharie

  5: Todd

  6: Bebe

  7: Calvin

  8: Myron

  9: Maurecia

  10: Paul

  11: Dana

  12: Jason

  13: Rondi

  14: Sammy

  15: Deedee

  16: D.J.

  17: John

  18: Leslie

  19: Miss Zarves

  20: Kathy

  21: Ron

  22: The Three Erics

  23: Allison

  24: Dameon

  25: Jenny

  26: Terrence

  27: Joy

  28: Nancy

  29: Stephen

  30: Louis

  ∨ Sideways Stories from Wayside School ∧

  Introduction

  This book contains thirty stories about the children and teachers at Wayside School. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know so that you don’t get confused.

  Wayside School was accidentally built sideways.

  It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry.

  The children at Wayside like having a sideways school. They have an extra-large playground.

  The children and teachers described in this book all go to class on the top floor. So there are thirty stories from the thirtieth story of Wayside School.

  It has been said that these stories are strange and silly. That is probably true. However, when I told stories about you to the children at Wayside, they thought you were strange and silly. That is probably also true.

  ∨ Sideways Stories from Wayside School ∧

  1

  Mrs. Gorf

  Mrs. Gorf had a long tongue and pointed ears. She was the meanest teacher in Wayside School. She taught the class on the thirtieth story.

  “If you children are bad,” she warned, “or if you answer a problem wrong, I’ll wiggle my ears, stick out my tongue, and turn you into apples!” Mrs. Gorf didn’t like children, but she loved apples.

  Joe couldn’t add. He couldn’t even count. But he knew that if he answered a problem wrong, he would be turned into an apple. So he copied from John. He didn’t like to cheat, but Mrs. Gorf had never taught him how to add.

  One day Mrs Gorf caught Joe copying John’s paper. She wiggled her ears – first her right one, then her left – stuck out her tongue, and turned Joe into an apple. Then she turned John into an apple for letting Joe cheat.

  “Hey, that isn’t fair,” said Todd. “John was only trying to help a friend.”

  Mrs. Gorf wiggled her ears – first her right one, then her left – stuck out her tongue, and turned Todd into an apple. “Does anybody else have an opinion?” she asked.

  Nobody said a word.

  Mrs. Gorf laughed and placed the three apples on her desk.

  Stephen started to cry. He couldn’t help it. He was scared.

  “I do not allow crying in the classroom,” said Mrs. Gorf. She wiggled her ears – first her right one, then her left – stuck out her tongue, and turned Stephen into an apple.

  For the rest of the day, the children were absolutely quiet. And when they went home, they were too scared even to talk to their parents.

  But Joe, John, Todd, and Stephen couldn’t go home. Mrs. Gorf just left them on her desk. They were able to talk to each other, but they didn’t have much to say.

  Their parents were very worried. They didn’t know where their children were. Nobody seemed to know.

  The next day Kathy was late for school. As soon as she walked in, Mrs. Gorf turned her into an apple.

  Paul sneezed during class. He was turned into an apple.

  Nancy said, “God bless you!” when Paul sneezed. Mrs. Gorf wiggled her ears – first her right one, then her left – stuck out her tongue, and turned Nancy into an apple.

  Terrence fell out of his chair. He was turned into an apple.

  Maurecia tried to run away. She was halfway to the door as Mrs. Gorf’s right ear began to wiggle. When she reached the door, Mrs. Gorf’s left ear wiggled. Maurecia opened the door and had one foot outside when Mrs. Gorf stuck out her tongue. Maurecia became an apple.

  Mrs. Gorf picked up the apple from the floor and put it on her desk with the others. Then a funny thing happened. Mrs. Gorf turned around and fell over a piece of chalk.

  The three Erics laughed. They were turned into apples.

  Mrs. Gorf had a dozen apples on her desk: Joe, John, Todd, Stephen, Kathy, Paul, Nancy, Terrence, Maurecia, and the three Erics – Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens.

  Louis, the yard teacher, walked into the classroom. He had missed the children at recess. He had heard that Mrs. Gorf was a mean teacher. So he came up to investigate. He saw the twelve apples on Mrs. Gorf’s desk. “I must be wrong,” he thought. “She must be a good teacher if so many children bring her apples.” He walked back down to the playground.

  The next day a dozen more children were turned into apples. Louis, the yard teacher, came back into the room. He saw twenty-four apples on Mrs. Gorf’s desk. There were only three children left in the class. “She must be the best teacher in the world,” he thought.

  By the end of the week all of the children were apples. Mrs. Gorf was very happy. “Now I can go home,” she said. “I don’t have to teach anymore. I won’t have to walk up thirty flights of stairs ever again.”

  “You’re not going anywhere,” shouted Todd. He jumped off the desk and bopped Mrs. Gorf on the nose. The rest of the apples followed. Mrs. Gorf fell on the floor. The apples jumped all over her.

  “Stop,” she shouted, “or I’ll turn you into applesauce!”

  But the apples didn’t stop, and Mrs. Gorf could do nothing about it.

  “Turn us back into children,” Todd demanded.

  Mrs. Gorf had no choice. She stuck out her tongue, wiggled her ears – this time her left one first, then her right – and turned the apples back into children.

  “All right,” said Maurecia, “let’s go get Louis. He’ll know what to do.”

  “No!” screamed Mrs. Gorf. “I’ll turn you back into apples.” She wiggled her ears – first her right one, then her left – and stuck out her tongue. But Jenny held up a mirror, and Mrs. Gorf turned herself into an apple.

  The children didn’t know what to do. They didn’t have a teacher. Even though Mrs. Gorf was mean, they didn’t think it was right to leave her as an apple. But none of them knew how to wiggle their ears.

  Louis, the yard teacher, walked in. “Where’s Mrs. Gorf?” he asked.

  Nobody said a word.

  “Boy, am I hungry,” said Louis. “I don’t think Mrs. Gorf would mind if I ate this apple. After all, she always has so many.”

  He picked up the apple, which was really Mrs. Gorf, shined it
up on his shirt, and ate it.

  ∨ Sideways Stories from Wayside School ∧

  2

  Mrs. Jewls

  Mrs. Jewls had a terribly nice face. She stood at the bottom of Wayside School and looked up. She was supposed to teach the class on the thirtieth story.

  The children on the thirtieth story were scared. They had never told anybody what had happened to Mrs. Gorf. They hadn’t had a teacher for three days. They were afraid of what their new teacher would be like. They had heard she’d be a terribly nice teacher. They had never had a nice teacher. They were terribly afraid of nice teachers.

  Mrs. Jewls walked up the winding, creaking staircase to the thirtieth story. She was also afraid. She was afraid of the children. She had heard that they would be horribly cute children. She had never taught cute children. She was horribly afraid of cute children.

  She opened the door to the classroom. She was terribly nice. The children could tell just by looking at her.

  Mrs. Jewls looked at the children. They were horribly cute. In fact, they were much too cute to be children.

  “I don’t believe it,” said Mrs. Jewls. “It’s a room full of monkeys!”

  The children looked at each other. They didn’t see any monkeys.

  “This is ridiculous,” said Mrs. Jewls, “just ridiculous. I walked all the way up thirty flights of stairs for nothing but a class of monkeys. What do they think I am? I’m a teacher, not a zookeeper!”

  The children looked at her. They didn’t know what to say. Todd scratched his head.

  “Oh, I’m sorry,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against monkeys. It is just that I was expecting children. I like monkeys. I really do. Why, I’m sure we can play all kinds of monkey games.”

  “What are you talking about?” asked Todd.

  Mrs. Jewls nearly fell off her chair. “Well, what do you know, a talking monkey. Tomorrow I’ll bring you a banana.”

  “My name is Todd,” said Todd.

  The children were flabbergasted. They all raised their hands.

  “I’m sorry,” said Mrs. Jewls, “but I don’t have enough bananas for all of you. I didn’t expect this. Next week I’ll bring in a whole bushel.”

  “I don’t want a banana,” said Calvin. “I’m not a monkey.”

  “Would you like a peanut?” asked Mrs. Jewls. “I think I might have a bag of peanuts in my purse. Wait a second. Yes, here it is.”

  “Thanks,” said Calvin. Calvin liked peanuts.

  Allison stood up. “I’m not a monkey,” she said. “I’m a girl. My name is Allison. And so is everybody else.”

  Mrs. Jewls was shocked. “Do you mean to tell me that every monkey in here is named Allison?”

  “No,” said Jenny. “She means we are all children. My name is Jenny.”

  “No,” said Mrs. Jewls. “You’re much too cute to be children.”

  Jason raised his hand.

  “Yes,” said Mrs. Jewls, “the chimpanzee in the red shirt.”

  “My name is Jason,” said Jason, “and I’m not a chimpanzee.”

  “You’re too small to be a gorilla,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “I’m a boy,” said Jason.

  “You’re not a monkey?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  “No,” said Jason.

  “And the rest of the class, they’re not monkeys, either?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  “No,” said Allison. “That is what we’ve been trying to tell you.”

  “Are you sure?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  “We’d know if we were monkeys, wouldn’t we?” asked Calvin.

  “I don’t know,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Do monkeys know that they are monkeys?”

  “I don’t know,” said Allison. “I’m not a monkey.”

  “No, I suppose you’re not,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Okay, in that case, we have a lot of work to do – reading, writing, subtraction, addition, spelling. Everybody take out a piece of paper. We will have a test now.”

  Jason tapped Todd on the shoulder. He said, “Do you want to know something? I liked it better when she thought we were monkeys.”

  “I know,” said Todd. “I guess now it means she won’t bring me a banana.”

  “There will be no talking in class,” said Mrs. Jewls. She wrote Todd’s name on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE.

  ∨ Sideways Stories from Wayside School ∧

  3

  Joe

  Joe had curly hair. But he didn’t know how much hair he had. He couldn’t count that high. In fact, he couldn’t count at all.

  When all of the other children went to recess, Mrs. Jewls told Joe to wait inside. “Joe,” she said. “How much hair do you have?”

  Joe shrugged his shoulders. “A lot,” he answered.

  “But how much, Joe?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  “Enough to cover my head,” Joe answered.

  “Joe, you are going to have to learn how to count,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “But, Mrs. Jewls, I already know how to count,” said Joe. “Let me go to recess.”

  “First count to ten,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Joe counted to ten: “six, eight, twelve, one, five, two, seven, eleven, three, ten.”

  “No, Joe, that is wrong,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “No, it isn’t,” said Joe. “I counted until I got to ten.”

  “But you were wrong,” said Mrs. Jewls. “I’ll prove it to you.” She put five pencils on his desk. “How many pencils do we have here, Joe?”

  Joe counted the pencils. “Four, six, one, nine, five. There are five pencils, Mrs. Jewls.”

  “That’s wrong,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “How many pencils are there?” Joe asked.

  “Five,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “That’s what I said,” said Joe. “May I go to recess now?”

  “No,” said Mrs. Jewls. “You got the right answer, but you counted the wrong way. You were just lucky.” She set eight potatoes on his desk. “How many potatoes, Joe?”

  Joe counted the potatoes. “Seven, five, three, one, two, four, six, eight. There are eight potatoes, Mrs. Jewls.”

  “No, there are eight,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “But that’s what I said,” said Joe. “May I go to recess now?”

  “No, you got the right answer, but you counted the wrong way again.” She put three books on his desk. “Count the books, Joe.”

  Joe counted the books. “A thousand, a million, three. Three, Mrs. Jewls.”

  “Correct,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “May I go to recess now?” Joe asked.

  “No” said Mrs Jewls.

  “May I have a potato?” asked Joe.

  “No. Listen to me. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Now you say it.”

  “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” said Joe.

  “Very good!” said Mrs. Jewls. She put six erasers on his desk. “Now count the erasers, Joe, just the way I showed you.”

  Joe counted the erasers. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. There are ten, Mrs. Jewls.”

  “No,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “Didn’t I count right?” asked Joe.

  “Yes, you counted right, but you got the wrong answer,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “This doesn’t make any sense,” said Joe. “When I count the wrong way I get the right answer, and when I count right I get the wrong answer.”

  Mrs. Jewls hit her head against the wall five times. “How many times did I hit my head against the wall?” she asked.

  “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. You hit your head against the wall ten times,” said Joe.

  “No,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “Four, six, one, nine, five. You hit your head five times,” said Joe.

  Mrs. Jewls shook her head no and said, “Yes, that is right.”

  The bell rang, and all the other children came back from recess. The fresh air had
made them very excited, and they were laughing and shouting.

  “Oh, darn.” said Joe. “Now I missed recess.”

  “Hey, Joe, where were you?” asked John. “You missed a great game of kickball.”

  “I kicked a home run,” said Todd.

  “What was wrong with you, Joe?” asked Joy.

  “Nothing,” said Joe. “Mrs. Jewls was just trying to teach me how to count.”

  Joy laughed. “You mean you don’t know how to count!”

  “Counting is easy,” said Maurecia.

  “Now, now,” said Mrs. Jewls. “What’s easy for you may not be easy for Joe, and what’s easy for Joe may not be easy for you.”

  “Nothing’s easy for Joe,” said Maurecia. “He’s stupid.”

  “I can beat you up,” said Joe.

  “Try it,” said Maurecia.

  “That will be enough of that,” said Mrs. Jewls. She wrote Maurecia’s name on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE.

  Joe put his head on his desk between the eight potatoes and the six erasers.

  “Don’t feel bad, Joe,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “I just don’t get it,” said Joe. “I’ll never learn how to count.”

  “Sure you will, Joe,” said Mrs. Jewls. “One day it will just come to you. You’ll wake up one morning and suddenly be able to count.”

  Joe asked, “If all I have to do is wake up, what am I going to school for?”

  “School just speeds things up,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Without school it might take another seventy years before you wake up and are able to count.”

  “By that time I may have no hair left on top of my head to count,” said Joe.

  “Exactly,” said Mrs. Jewls. “That is why you go to school.”

  When Joe woke up the next day, he knew how to count. He had fifty-five thousand and six hairs on his head. They were all curly.

  ∨ Sideways Stories from Wayside School ∧

  4

 
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