having just realized in 2018 that there was even a THIRD wayside school book and reading it for my “missed MG sequels project,” this fourth book in the series (excluding those two weird math books—are they even part of the series?), published FORTY YEARS after book one, is a welcome return to a world i don’t feel i’ve been away from for very long.
if you’ve read the other ones, you know what to expect—it’s the same kind of sillydark blend of absurd humor and creepiness—wordplay and crazy mix-em-ups and VERY LOUD NOISES. and paper clips. hoard them clips, friends! here, children will collect toenail clippings for homework, be hypnotized out of their unpleasant personalities, friendships and recipes will be tested and the CLOUD OF DOOM will approach, with a lesson for us all.
”The Cloud of Doom is getting bigger every day!” Myron exclaimed. “What does it matter if we can spell?”
“So we can read and write,” Mrs. Jewls replied.
“What’s the point of reading?” asked Leslie.
“What’s the point of writing?” asked Jason
“What[sic] the point of arithmetic?” asked Benjamin.
“There is no point!” Myron grumpled. He slammed his pencil down hard on his desk. The point broke off of it.
“I understand you’re scared and upset,” said Mrs. Jewls. “But what’s the point of quitting? We can all just sit around and grumple, or we can try to do our best, cloud or no cloud.”
“Someday, the Cloud of Doom will be gone,” said Mrs. Jewls. “And the world will be a much better place, even better that before the cloud. Colors will be more colorful. Music will be more musical. Even Miss Mush’s food will taste good. The bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow.”
At that moment, a crack of thunder shook the classroom, and then the lights went out.
The children screamed. They weren’t scared. They just liked screaming in the dark.
living in this world of ours, under our own encroaching cloud of doom, heed these words! keep reading and writing (keep mathing if that’s your thing), and scream in the dark (thru your surgical masks) to get it all out. it’s gonna be okay. now go wash your hands and read A SHORT CHAPTER ABOUT A LONG BOOK. although i suppose you should read MRS. SURLAW first.
A NEW WAYSIDE SCHOOL BOOK?? FOR MEEEEEE?