The Late Movies: Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Erica Palan

Growing up, I couldn't get enough of the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar, who turned 58 years old today. The books—Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Wayside School is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger—tell many tales from a strange school built 30 stories high, with one room per story, but no 19th story. Each book contains 30 chapters, called stories, complementing the 30 stories in the school.

I was delighted to learn that in 2005, a Canadian animation company produced an hour-long adaptation of the Wayside books—starring the now-super-famous Michael Cera as Todd, the new kid. Check it out below. (Did you love the Wayside books, too? Which story was your favorite? I always liked the one about Leslie's long pigtails.)

Part 1

Todd gets introduced to Wayside School and the wacky Mrs. Jewls, voiced by Kathy Najimy.

Part 2

Todd gets into trouble quickly at his new school.

Part 3

The class learns about elections and voting during the race for class president. When disaster strikes, we meet Miss Mush, the school cook known for her very weird meals. Todd continues to get in trouble for ... nothing.

Part 4

Todd finds Wayside School's blueprints—and finally figures out why the classroom's walls move.

Part 5

Louis has a crazy ride from top to bottom of Wayside School.

Part 6

When disaster strikes, Miss Mush's mushroom surprise saves the day—with a little help from Todd.