Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
Harper Trophy 1995
3rd grade-7th grade
Mrs. Jewls teaches a strange classroom of children with many quirks. there are three children named Eric who “think for themselves” but really they all say basically the same thing and agree the whole story. When Mrs. Jewls gets pregnant they go through a series of different substitutes who range from cruel like the voice sucker, to creepy like Mrs. Drazil, to seemingly nice like Miss Nosgard. They also have a school psychiatrist who hypnotizes them and cures them of their problems but also gives them a strange quirk, like licking someone’s ear when they say pencil. All of the substitute teachers have background stories, like Miss Nogard who has a 3rd ear that reads minds and uses that information to make people feel awful about themselves. They never turn it on her, because it is merely a confirmation of their doubts. In the end the children find a way to get out of their situations, or in the case of Miss Nosgard, she listens to Mrs. Jewls babies’ thoughts and is immediately filled with pure love. She then falls in love with the kids favorite teacher who is the recess teacher, and they kiss and the kids were happy because they always liked her.
Your Reaction: This is one of the funnest books for children who just need a little break from real life. It puts a fun spin on the normal day to day life of elementary school students. You’re understanding level can vary and you can still enjoy it. I would read this to kindergarteners and they would find it hilarious, it is higher than their reading level but not their understanding level.
Potential Problems: Zany sometimes evil teachers and scheming children.
Recommendations: I would recommend reading this to young elementary students through early middle school. The older the more you remember the small details that come back that are so clever.