There are certain book series you just won't forget reading as a kid: Harry Potter, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Goosebumps, The Baby-Sitters Club. And, of course, Louis Sachar's Wayside School is definitely one of those. Full of 30 strange, undeniably kooky characters, the series made it impossible to keep a straight face while reading. I remember sitting on the floor while my teacher read aloud about the mysterious and odd tales that happened on the 13th floor of Wayside School. It was magical and weird and unforgettable. And even afterwards — during lunch and recess — the stories sparked the quirkiest conversations for me and my bookish friends.
This children's series is a classic, and I certainly hope my own kids and the generations that follow continue to read it. Though the circumstances of Wayside School may be unbelievable, the lessons of the book hold true — even in our far more mundane reality. If you have fond memories of this series, you already know why it's incredible, so consider this a refresher: here are 10 unforgettable reasons why the Wayside School series is the most fantastically weird book series ever:
1. The Series Made Up So Many Fun Words
Goozack was the word for door, and once your entire class read the books, there was no turning back.
2. The Books Always Ended In The Same Way
Each book ends in a different variation of "everybody —ooed." The first book ends with "everybody booed"; the second ends with "everybody mooed"; and the third ends with "everybody oohed." It's a small detail that we all wooed for as kids.
3. And There Were So Many Fun Chapter Themes
In Chapter 17, everything is backwards. In the first book, John reads upside-down; in the second, the paragraphs have to be read in reverse order; and the third has a title that is paradoxical to the plot until the last sentence. Other chapters had their own themes, but 17's was my favorite.
4. Some Students Weren't Actually Human... Or Alive
Remember Sammy? The stinky, bad boy who always wore raincoats to class? Remember how he turns out to be a dead rat?
5. The School Counselor Used Hypnosis On The Kids
Dr. Pickell often hypnotized the students, and it always produced weird side effects. Can you imagine if that happened in real life?
6. You Could Make Pieces Of Fruit Your Pets
Remember when Stephen, the blond boy who spent too much time in the pool and wound up with green hair, came to school on "Pet Day" with an orange named Fido? Forget pet rocks, Stephen knew what was up.
7. The School Building Was Wildly Strange
While the stories took place on the 13th floor, other floors are mentioned. The strangest is the 19th floor — a place that doesn't really exist. Remember when Allison and Ray get trapped there for a week, because — I repeat — it doesn't really exist.
8. Calvin Had A Tattoo Of A Potato
Need I say more?