Summer is almost here, and the last thing anyone wants to talk about is school. Summer is a time for relaxing, having fun, and forgetting all about getting up for class, doing homework, and studying for tests (unless you’re me–I was always excited about picking up school supplies, especially getting cool new folders with pictures of cute cats and dogs or my favorite Pokémon). So, if we’re going to talk about school, it should be something really, really fun. And that’s why today I want to talk about the hilarious Wayside School series.

Wayside School is the way it is because of a mistake. You see, the building was supposed to be one story high, with thirty classrooms all next to each other. But, due to a mix-up, the building is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each floor (the builder says he’s very sorry), and of course, there’s the missing 19th floor (how embarrassing!) The Wayside School book series focuses on the adventures and misadventures of the children in Mrs. Jewel’s class, which is at the very top of the building on the 30th floor. The kids are weird, the teachers are weird, and the whole school is one big gust of wind from completely toppling over. There’s a girl who only eats ice cream, another who doesn’t know what to do with her toes, dead rats keep trying to sneak into the classroom, and Mrs. Gorf can turn children into apples by wiggling her ears.

The stories are hilarious, ridiculous, and a lot of fun, and readers of all ages will laugh themselves silly! If you’d like to check out this series, here’s the reading order:

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (1978)

There was a terrible mistake and Wayside School is built sideways! (The builder says he was very sorry). Now, instead of having one story with thirty classrooms, there are thirty stories, each with one classroom! Mrs. Jewls can’t tell children apart from monkeys, the new kid Sammy has a personality as nasty as his smell, and Sharie can’t stay awake in class (but that’s okay, because Mrs. Jewls believes she learns better that way!).

Wayside School is Falling Down (1989)

Louis the yard teacher shares a collection of new stories about the kids at Wayside School. Todd brings in a cute toy dog that bites when his classmate tries to steal it, Paul falls out the window, but Leslie offers her pigtails to pull him back up, and Allison accidentally discovers Miss Zarves’ class, on the missing 19th floor.

Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger (1995)

When Wayside is closed down because of a cow infestation, the kids are forced to spend 243 days at horrible other schools. But, now they’re back and the fun can begin again. The kids on the 30th floor have pet day, Miss Mush makes baked liver in purple sauce for lunch, and the kids attempt to make it through the school year with an increasingly crazy collection of substitute teachers!

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom (2020)

For the first time in 25 years, a new Wayside School adventure is upon us! All your favorite students and teachers have returned! From Sharie, who loves her striped and spotted umbrella more than anything to Jason who has to read the longest book in the world, to the class’s mad scramble to prepare for the all-important Ultimate Test, this book brings back all the absurdity, humor, and heart that you have come to expect from this ridiculous series!


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.