Chapters Summaries for Sideways Stories from Wayside School

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Chapter 1: Mrs. Gorf

Mrs. Gorf is the teacher on the thirtieth floor and has a reputation as the meanest teacher at Wayside School. She says if the students are bad or if they answer a problem incorrectly, she will turn them into apples. She turns four students into apples first. The next day, she turns eight more students into apples. Louis, the yard teacher, gets suspicious when the children do not show up for recess and goes up to Mrs. Gorf’s classroom.

When he sees the apples, he decides Mrs. Gorf must be a good teacher because she gets so many apples. The next day, a dozen more children are turned into apples, and Louis goes up to Mrs. Gorf’s room again. Seeing twenty-four apples, he decides Mrs. Gorf is the best teacher in the world. At the end of the week, though, all of the children are apples, and Mrs. Gorf starts to go home, claiming she won’t have to teach anymore. Before she can leave, the apples attack her by bouncing on her and demanding they be turned back into children. Mrs. Gorf gives in and changes them back.

When the children start to get Louis, Mrs. Gorf tells them she will change them back into apples. Jenny holds up a mirror and Mrs. Gorf turns herself into an apple instead, leaving the students without a teacher. Louis comes upstairs, hungry, and eats the only apple in the room, which was really Mrs. Gorf.

Chapter 2: Mrs. Jewls

Since the disappearance of Mrs. Gorf, the students are in need of a new teacher. This teacher is Mrs. Jewls, who has been told she would be teaching “horribly cute children.” The students are also afraid because they have been told Mrs. Jewls is a “terribly nice teacher.” Mrs. Jewls walks in and decides all of the children must be monkeys because they were too cute to be children. The children try to tell her they are not monkeys, but Mrs. Jewls responds by saying they are simply too cute to be actual children. Finally, Mrs. Jewls believes them and starts teaching. Todd breaks the no talking rule and has his name written on the board under DISCIPLINE.

Chapter 3: Joe

Joe can’t count the number of hairs on his head. When he tries to count, his numbers are all out of order. Mrs. Jewls resolves to teach Joe how to count correctly. She starts by having Joe count pencils. Joe’s numbers are out of order, but he gets the correct total. Mrs. Jewls has him count potatoes. The same thing happens. Then she has him count the books.

Again, the same thing happens. She has him mimic her as she counts to ten, then she sets six erasers on the desk for him to count. He counts in the correct order but fails to get the correct total. When he counts out of order, he gets the correct total, though. After missing recess, Joe still can’t count correctly.

The other kids come in and make fun of him for not being able to count. Mrs. Jewls tells Joe that it will just come to him one day, and he will be able to count. The following day, Joe knows how to count and knows how many hairs are on his head.

Chapter 4: Sharie

Sharie is a small girl that wears a big overcoat that weighs almost as much as her. She sits next to the window and daydreams or falls asleep. Mrs. Jewls thinks Sharie is one of her best students and must be learning while she daydreams or sleeps. When Sharie starts to snore, the other children tell Mrs. Jewls, who simply continues with the lesson, saying Sharie must be learning a lot and that she wishes the other children were more like Sharie. Sharie falls out the open window and wakes only after falling ten stories. She falls back asleep. Louis sees her falling and rushes to catch her. He succeeds but wakes her up after catching her. When Sharie tries to sleep that night, she can’t.

Chapter 5: Todd

Todd thinks before he speaks, but he always seems to get caught talking when he is not supposed to and gets his name written on the blackboard under DISCIPLINE. This happens even when everyone else is talking and he isn’t. Todd tries to be good, only answering quietly when Joy asks him what page in his workbook he is on. Joy continues talking to Todd, comparing his page number to her page number rather loudly.

Finally, Todd asks Joy to be quiet and let him work, but Mrs. Jewls hears him and puts a check next to his name under DISCIPLINE. Todd knows that if his name gets circled, he will be sent home on the kindergarten bus at noon, so he tries to be really good. Two robbers, mistaking the school for a bank, come and demand money. The students and Mrs. Jewls do not have anything valuable. Todd gives the robbers Joy’s workbook, claiming knowledge is more valuable than money. The robbers leave, and Joy has to start completely over. Todd interrupts her by asking what page she is on, just as she had done to him. When Mrs. Jewls hears him, she circles his name. All of the children stand up, clap, and whistle as he leaves at noon.

Chapter 6: Bebe

Bebe Gunn is the fastest draw in the class, meaning she can draw many pictures in the one hour art period. Calvin is Bebe’s assistant, in that he puts her paper down and hands her the crayons. When Mrs. Jewls questions Calvin about not drawing any pictures himself, he responds by saying it would take him the whole period to draw just one picture, whereas Bebe can draw many that period when Calvin helps her. Mrs. Jewls says that a person could spend his whole life drawing just one picture of a cat and if that one picture is better than the two million Bebe could do, then that person has produced more art. Bebe is saddened by this and goes home to draw a picture of a cat, claiming she doubts she will be finished with even one whisker by the following day.

Chapter 7: Calvin

Calvin is asked to run a note to Mrs. Zarves on the nineteenth floor. He and the other children are surprised by this because it is known that Wayside has no nineteenth story. When he tries to point this out to Mrs. Jewls, Calvin is warned to take it to Mrs. Zarves before Mrs. Jewls loses her patience. Mrs. Jewls forgets to give him the note, but Calvin leaves anyway. He goes to the eighteenth story and to the twentieth story before going to the administration office to put the note he doesn’t have in Mrs. Zarves box. There is no box, though, and no Mrs. Zarves. In a state of frustration, he goes to see Louis, who tells him he is not supposed to take “no notes to no teachers,” which he already hasn’t done. Todd leaves even more confused to tell Mrs. Jewls he couldn’t deliver the note. Before he can tell her, though, she thanks him for being reliable, thus stirring up questions from the other kids as to how he delivered the note. Mrs. Jewls reveals the note was Important and told Mrs. Zarves not to meet her for lunch. Todd says not to worry because Mrs. Zarves wouldn’t.

Chapter 8: Myron

Class president Myron has been told that his job is difficult. He has to turn on the lights every morning and turn them off after school. Myron fails to see the importance of his job, even though he does it. When Dana’s dog, Pugsy, is hit by a car, Myron carries her to the vet, which saves the dog’s life. After the incident, Myron stops by Dana’s house to check on Pugsy. Dana’s mother drives the kids to school, but they are late. Since Myron was not there to turn the lights on, the class was sitting in the dark. Mrs. Jewls tells Myron to show Stephen how to work the lights and appoints him the new class president.

Chapter 9: Maurecia

Maurecia is one of the most popular kids in class. She likes ice cream and always brings an ice cream cone to school. After trying many different flavors, she gets tired of ice cream altogether and is very unhappy. Mrs. Jewls spends an evening concocting Maurecia-flavored ice cream in an effort to cheer Maurecia up. When she introduces the new flavor, Maurecia cannot taste it. The rest of the class likes it, though. Mrs. Jewls makes Joe-flavored ice cream, and Maurecia and the rest of the class likes it. Joe can’t taste it. Mrs. Jewls makes a flavor of ice cream for each student. Todd-flavored ice cream is her favorite, though.

Chapter 10: Paul

Paul sits in the back of the room, farthest from Mrs. Jewls. He doesn’t pay attention and gets away with it, due to not being seen. Leslie, a pig-tailed girl, sits in front of Paul. Paul really wants to pull Leslie’s pigtails but doesn’t because he knows Leslie would scream. He gives in to his desire, though, and pulls the pigtail. Leslie screams, and Paul’s name is written on the board under DISCIPLINE. He feels bad and decides not to pull her pigtails any more. Leslie’s pigtails tempt him, though, and he pulls Leslie’s other pigtail. A checkmark is put next to his name. Paul is satisfied and thinks he can do the same thing everyday as long as he stays out of trouble for the rest of the afternoon. Leslie screams even though Paul didn’t pull her pigtail, and Paul gets sent home early on the kindergarten bus.

Chapter 11: Dana

Dana, a beautiful-eyed girl with glasses, has a bunch of mosquito bites. As Mrs. Jewls starts the day’s arithmetic lesson, Dana complains that she is too itchy to do it. The rest of the class chimes in with reasons why they can’t do the lesson either. Mrs. Jewls starts the lesson anyway, telling Dana arithmetic is the best cure for an itch. She “turns the mosquito bites into numbers” by having the students answer a variety of math questions about the number of mosquito bites. By the end of the lesson, Dana’s mosquito bites don’t itch anymore.

Chapter 12: Jason

Jason has the second biggest mouth in the class. When he tells on Joy for chewing gum, Mrs. Jewls says she is going to write Joy’s name on the board under DISCIPLINE. Jason does it instead. While he’s up, Joy puts the wad of gum in his chair, and Jason gets stuck. Mrs. Jewls tells Joy she’s going home on the kindergarten bus, meaning Todd will not be alone. Jason tries to get up and can’t. Mrs. Jewls sends for some ice water from Mrs. Mush, who undercooks or overcooks everything. When she comes back, Mrs. Jewls pours the water over Jason, but Jason is still stuck. After deciding to cut Jason’s pants off, Mrs. Jewls has the three Erics take him to the bathroom. Joy asks if she would have to go home early if she could get Jason unstuck. She kisses him on the nose, and he falls to the floor. Joy erases her name.

Chapter 13: Rondi

Rondi is missing her two front teeth. Everyone tells her that her front teeth are adorable. Rondi keeps pointing out that her front teeth can’t be adorable because she doesn’t have them. When a student comments on her hat and boots that she isn’t wearing, Rondi starts to get angry. She closes her mouth tight, covers her hear, and puts her feet under her desk, so no one can comment. The students start laughing at the joke Rondi didn’t tell. Mrs. Jewls gets angry and writes Rondi’s name on the board under DISCIPLINE, despite Rondi claiming she did not tell a joke. Rondi decides to tell an actual joke so she doesn’t disturb the class. When she tells her joke, no one laughs or even pays attention to her. Louis asks Rondi to smile so he can see her two front teeth. Instead, Rondi socks him in the stomach and bites his arm.

Chapter 14: Sammy

Sammy is the new kid in school. He comes in during a very rainy day, practically buried underneath multiple raincoats. He is very rude to the rest of the students, who comment that he smells terrible. Mrs. Jewls takes off Sammy’s first raincoat. The smell gets worse. She takes off Sammy’s second raincoat. The smell is overpowering. Sammy calls them all a bunch of pigs. His name is written on the board under DISCIPLINE. Mrs. Jewls removes the third raincoat and throws it out the window. This continues until Sammy is only two inches tall. With every raincoat removed, the smell gets worse and Sammy gets ruder. When the final raincoat is removed, all that is left is a dead rat. Dead rats were always trying to sneak into Mrs. Jewl’s classroom.

Chapter 15: Deedee

Deedee loves recess. She rushes down the stairs to get to recess. She asks Louis for a green ball, which are the bounciest and best ones. When Louis tells her he is out of green balls, Deedee asks for a red ball. Those are all gone, too. The only ball that’s left is a yellow one that doesn’t bounce. After trying this ball, Deedee plays hopscotch. The next day, Deedee tries to get to recess early but has to spell Mississippi before she can go. She was five minutes late to recess and played jump rope. When Deedee is mistaken for a rat the following day, she gets to recess early enough to get a green ball.

Chapter 16: D.J.

D.J. can’t stop smiling. His smile is so big when he walks into the classroom that Mrs. Jewls forgets to write Todd’s name on the board under DISCIPLINE and instead asks what he’s so happy about. His smile is contagious and makes the rest of the class break out into smiles. The whole room starts to laugh, including Jason, who comes to school upset and late. Once things settle down, Mrs. Jewls repeats her question to D.J., who only responds by smiling. The class tries to guess what D.J. is smiling about. At recess, Louis pulls D.J. aside and asks why he’s so happy. D.J. responds by saying you don’t need a reason to be happy.

Chapter 17: John

John is one of the smartest boys in the class, but he can only read when words are written upside down. He cannot stand on his head, either. Instead, he falls over every time and his friend, Joe, comes and stands on his head. Mrs. Jewls tells John that he is going to have to learn to stand on his head. The class gathers around him to help. After some success, he falls over. He warns Joe to stay off his head and is then able to read correctly, without having to turn the book upside down or attempt standing on his head.

Chapter 18: Leslie

Leslie has two pigtails that go all the way to her waist. Her problem is that she had ten toes that she does not know what to do with. She asks Sharie, who tells her to suck on her toes, but Leslie’s toes don’t reach her mouth. She asks Dana, who tells her to use them to scratch her legs, only Leslie’s legs don’t itch. So, she asks Louis, who tells her he will give her a nickel apiece for them and to just cut them off and give them to him.

After considering his offer, she decides to accept and goes to Louis to work out the details. Louis examines her toes and changes his offer to five cents for each of her big toes and three cents for each of the rest. Leslie is appalled that Louis changed his offer. So, she declines his offer, saying she happens to like her little toe. Louis then offers her a dollar apiece for each of her pigtails. She asks him if he is crazy.

Chapter 19: Miss Zarves

No Miss Zarves, nineteenth floor, or nineteenth story.

Chapter 20: Kathy

Kathy doesn’t like anyone, including the reader and people she doesn’t even know. She has her reasons. She doesn’t like D.J. because he smiles, John because he can’t stand on his head, Mrs. Jewls because her dog Skunks ran away despite her prediction that he would not, Dameon because he failed at teaching her to play catch, or Allison because the cookie she gave her in an effort to just be nice tasted terrible after it sat in her desk for three weeks and collected dust. And, she doesn’t like the reader because she knows the reader won’t like her.

Chapter 21: Ron

Ron is a curly-haired boy with little feet. He wants to play kickball, but no one will let him. When he goes to Louis to vent his frustration, Louis challenges the other students to a game of kickball against just him and Ron. Louis and Ron lose horribly, but Ron has the time of his life.

The same thing happens the next day, when Louis again challenges the others to a game against just him and Ron. After losing miserably again, Louis asks Ron why he wants to play kickball when it means they get smashed every time. Ron tells Louis not to blame it all on him, since Louis is half of the team, too.

Chapter 22: The Three Erics

Three Erics, Eric Bacon, Eric Fry, and Eric Ovens, attend class on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. Eric Fry is fat, so everyone assumes the other two Erics are fat, even though Eric Bacon is the skinniest kid in the class. When he is given the nickname Fatso, he is not happy.

Therefore, the three Erics also have the reputation of being mean. Eric Fry is an excellent athlete, the best in the class actually, but the other Erics are horrible athletes. So, everyone assumes he is a horrible athlete, too, and picks him last for teams. He earns the nickname Butterfingers, because the one time he drops the ball is the one time everyone notices him.

Since Eric Bacon is mean, everyone assumes the other two Erics are mean, despite that Eric Ovens is the nicest kid in the class. Everyone calls him Crabapple. The three Erics all have nicknames that they did not earn.

Chapter 23: Allison

Allison is Rondi’s best friend. She used to tell people that she is the reason Rondi does not have her two front teeth so the boys would stop teasing her. When she brings a tangerine to lunch, Miss Mush asks her if she can have it. Allison obliges because Miss Mush always gives food to the children. She goes to the library to read her book, but instead ends up giving her book to the librarian per the librarian’s request.

She goes outside and starts to play with her tennis ball, only to end up giving it away to Louis, who asks her for it. She goes up to her classroom because she doesn’t feel like doing anything after giving everything away. Mrs. Jewls asks her for help with an arithmetic problem. Allison obliges, only to find out that Mrs. Jewls mixed up spelling and arithmetic and wants to know how to spell chair. When she points out the mix-up, Mrs. Jewls tells her a secret, asking her only to keep it completely to herself. The secret is that students really are smarter than their teachers. But, according to Allison, everyone already knows that.

Chapter 24: Dameon

Dameon is asked by Mrs. Jewls to see if Louis would like to watch a movie with the class. He runs down the thirty flights of stairs to ask. Louis asks what the movie is, so he runs back up the thirty flights of stairs to ask Mrs. Jewls. Mrs. Jewls asks if Louis wants to know the name or what the movie if about. Dameon runs down the thirty flights of stairs to check. Louis says he wants to know the name. Dameon runs up the thirty flights of stairs to ask.

The movie is Turtles, so he runs down the thirty flights of stairs to tell Louis. Louis asks what the movie is about, so Dameon runs up the thirty flights of stairs to find out. He runs down the stairs again to tell Louis that it is about turtles. Louis declines the invitation then, stating that turtles are too slow. By the time Dameon gets painfully back upstairs, the movie is over, and Mrs. Jewls is asking the students to write something they learned about turtles.

Fortunately, Dameon learned something about turtles from Louis, but he cannot find his pencil. The class searches, holding up their pencils and asking if they are Dameon’s. Mrs. Jewls then decides everyone needs to write his/her name on their pencil.

Chapter 25: Jenny

Jenny’s father takes her to school on the back of his motorcycle. She is thirty minutes late to school and rushes up the stairs to her classroom. Only, her classroom is completely empty. She looks around, and it appears no one is there. She wonders if the class went on a fieldtrip without her. She sits down and starts working on her speller. As she is spelling, a man walks in the room. He asks Jenny what her name is.

She tells him. He asks her if she was suspicious when no one else showed up at school. He also asks why she is working on spelling. She says they may have gone on a fieldtrip, but he tells her they didn’t. She starts to cry because she is frightened. Two more men come and ask questions before dismissing her and telling her to put her speller back in her desk. As she is leaving, they tell her not to come to school on a Saturday.

Chapter 26: Terrence

Terrence is a very poor sport. None of the other kids want to play with him because he just kicks their balls over the fence. He does that when he plays three-square with Rondi and Allison. He does it when he plays basketball with D.J. and Dameon. And, he does it when he plays spud with five of his other classmates. After all of the balls mysteriously disappear, he is bored. Louis, along with the other students, asks Terrence what is wrong.

When Terrence responds that there is nothing left to kick, Louis and the other kids convince him that there is something left to kick. He begs for it. Louis goes around the circle, asking the others if they think Terrence deserves it. They all respond yes. In the end, Louis kicks Terrence over the fence.

Chapter 27: Joy

Joy is hungry when Dameon goes to the milk line and leaves his delicious turkey sandwich, chocolate cake, and apple on his desk. Joy forgot her lunch at home. She steals Dameon’s lunch and places the evidence on the desks of three other students. When Dameon tells Mrs. Jewls that his lunch is gone, Joy is quick to point out the evidence, which leads to Mrs. Jewls writing the names of those three students on the board under DISCIPLINE.

Louis brings Joy’s lunch that her mother dropped off for him to deliver. She gives the old bologna sandwich and dried up carrot to Dameon. Joy gets to help herself to a Tootsie roll pop, but instead she takes two of them. Five minutes later, none of it matters. Joy and Dameon are full, and the three students don’t get in any more trouble and have their names erased at two that afternoon. But, Joy goes home with a guilty conscience.

Chapter 28: Nancy

Nancy is a shy, quiet boy that sits in the back of the room. He does not like his name because it is a girl’s name. His one friend, a girl from the twenty-third story, doesn’t know his name, and he doesn’t know hers. One day they are both late, and Nancy hears the teacher call the girl Mac. The girl is embarrassed, but Nancy alleviates that embarrassment by telling her his name. They decide to trade names and spin around very quickly until they fall down.

After, Mac introduces himself to the class as Mac, stating he traded names. This leads to everyone in Mrs. Jewls class changing names. No one can identify each other because they all claim to be someone else. After finally identifying Rondi, they figure out the rest of the group. Everyone goes back to his/her original name, except Mac, who keeps his new name. He and his friend still call each other “you,” though.

Chapter 29: Stephen

Stephen is dressed up as a goblin for the Halloween party that afternoon. No one else dressed up, though, and they are making fun of Stephen because he did. Mrs. Jewls passes out the witch-shaped cookies but laughs at Stephen and forgets to give him one. The party is over in less than a minute, leaving Stephen feeling foolish for dressing up and having to wear his costume the rest of the day. During arithmetic, Mrs. Jewls cannot seem to get 2 plus 2 to equal 4. After trying three times, the ghost of Mrs. Gorf comes back and swears to get even with all of the kids. Mrs. Jewls asks who Mrs. Gorf is.

Upon finding out, she banishes the ghost from her room, only to fail because ghosts can go anywhere they like on Halloween. When it is pointed out that Halloween is still two days away, Mrs. Gorf tells everyone that ghosts celebrate Halloween the Friday before. Stephen goes up to Mrs. Gorf and explains his situation. He thanks Mrs. Gorf for proving him right and then hugs her. She gasps and disappears. Stephen is declared a hero and goes home at lunch to change out of his costume.

Chapter 30: Louis

Louis is the yard teacher at Wayside School. His job is to ensure the kids do not have too much fun while at recess or lunch. A blizzard comes, and he is afraid the kids would have too much fun. So, he decides not to let the kids go outside. Instead, they go back up to class right after lunch.

The children are bored, but Mrs. Jewls has arranged for Louis to come tell them a story. Louis shows and starts the story of a school where all of the classes are on one floor and no one has done anything strange, like been turned into apples, not had 2 plus 2 equal 4, or tried Maurecia-flavored ice cream.

The kids are horrified by this story and ask if such a school really exists. Mrs. Jewls tells them no, and they thank Louis for the story, even though Mrs. Jewls points out that they are not into fairy tales and only are taught the truth. Louis leaves to tell the class on the twenty-ninth floor a story.