fulfilling my vow to read all the sequels i never knew existed to books i loved when i was little.
Miss Zarves taught the class on the nineteenth story. There is no nineteenth story. And there is no Miss Zarves.
You already know all that.
But how do you explain the cow in her classroom?
so, back in 2017 i decided to reread books i had loved when i was a little middle-grader, one for each month of the year. and while cheerfully on that path, i made a startling discovery: many of these beloved books o’ mine had sequels, some more than one. so i devoted 2018 to the one-a-month pursuit of reading these sequels because i do not like being left out of things just because i’m supposed to be an adult now.
but i hadn’t really done the math on it, and when i had finished november’s book (Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow, bunnicula #7) i realized i did not have a book lined up for december. and then jason came to my rescue and informed me that there was a THIRD book in the wayside school series and here we are.
i loved, loved Sideways Stories from Wayside School. it was one of the few books i read when i was little that scared me. not scared-scared, but that one about sammy – who was a smelly, rude child wearing layer after layer of smelly raincoats, and the teacher would remove one after the other and sammy would get smellier and smellier and smaller and smaller and jeer more loudly and more rudely until the last raincoat was removed and it turned out sammy was a dead rat. “WHAT IS THIS WORLD???” i bellowed. “HOW DOES THIS SHIT MAKE SENSE??” but it did and it was awesome and i loved the creepy shudders it gave me even as it broke my little brain in two.
but that’s the way of wayside – it’s a thirty-story school with one classroom per floor, minus the nineteenth floor. there is no nineteenth floor. it’s goofy and odd and sacher addresses the reader directly (which was not a common practice in the children’s books of my jeunesse), and it stood out from all the other kiddiebooks, leaving me feeling a complicated mixture of entertained and unsettled.
i don’t really remember the second one, Wayside School Is Falling Down – i have a vague sense-memory of discovering it when i was a young-ish adult and being like “ANOTHER wayside book? radical!” reading it, and then moving on with my young, fresh life.
but i remember this one, because i just read it a week ago and even holiday madness and old age aren’t enough to erode my memories that quickly.
it’s the same wacky good time as the first one (and presumably the second, if one could remember). there are many returning characters, and even though i read wayside a hundred and seventy-five years ago, it all came flooding back to me, and i remembered them. i really did read that first book a ridiculous amount of times.
i say ‘wacky good time,’ but it’s a wacky good time with a streak of cruelty running through it; mind-reading teachers who use their gifts in sadistic ways to humiliate students, teachers who steal voices, or keep grudges for a REALLY long time, psychiatrists who use hypnotism for highly unprofessional pranks, principals who need to learn when the intercom is still on, etc. although, with a name like mr. kidswatter, you shouldn’t be expecting a saint. other notable teacher names: miss nogard, mr. gorf, mrs. drazil. why no ms. adnapder??
my favorite from this book is A Story with a Disappointing Ending. it’s like the buildup to a sneeze.
anyway, now i have finished this project and *sniff* it is a very emotional time! GOODBYE, CHILDHOOD!