WAYSIDE SCHOOL IS FALLING DOWN

From the Wayside School series , Vol. 2

Thirty rib-tickling tales of Wayside School, where the classrooms are stacked one atop the other, dead rats live in the basement, and there's no 19th floor—usually. It's a long haul from the playground to the 30th floor, past the principal's office (lair of Mr. Kidswatter), past the lunchroom, where Miss Mush makes her Mushroom Surprise, past Miss Zarves' class on the 19th floor that isn't there; but the children don't mind, for Mrs. Jewls—their favorite teacher—is waiting for them. Wayside School is never dull; if Mrs. Jewls isn't demonstrating gravity by dropping the new computer out the window or delivering words of wisdom ("It doesn't matter what you wear on the outside. It's what's underneath that counts. If you want to be great and important, you have to wear expensive underpants"), her students liven things up: among other startling events, Sharie brings in a hobo for show-and-tell; Calvin shows off his birthday tattoo; and the ghost of dreaded former teacher Mrs. Gorf animates Miss Mush's potato salad. Each short episode is prefaced with a simple, evocative line drawing. Sachar has a gift for having fun without poking it too sharply, and beneath all the frivolity there very often lurks some idea or observation worth pondering. A sure-to-please sequel to Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

Pub Date: March 22, 1989

ISBN: 0380754843

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1989

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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