When I was ten, my mother subscribed her voracious reader of a daughter to a kid’s book club. The first box of books contained such classics as Beezus and Ramona, Anne of Green Gables and Nancy Drew.
One of my favourites in a latter box, was Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Wayside was built wrong. Instead of classrooms spread across one floor, Wayside was built upwards. So Wayside was a thirty-floor skyscraper. In the plans, the contractor left out 19th floor.
The stories in this hilarious book center around the students in Wayside and the adventures they get up to with their teachers. From a teacher telling a student to deliver some documents to the missing 19th floor, to another student, who we discover is invisible actually finding the 19th floor. All kinds of interesting things happened on the 13th floor too.
But my favourites in the book were when the Cafeteria lady, who is aptly named “Miss Mush” served a student Mushroom surprise…and the student morphs into something different. If you want to find out what the student turns into, you must read the book.
This was followed by the story of the teacher who made different types of ice cream for her students. She decided that she’d name the flavours after the students in her classroom. I thought it was really neat that a teacher would make ice cream for her students. The story took a hilarious turn when kids started commenting that they couldn’t taste some flavours. The teacher deduced that it was because it was impossible to taste your name.
I can remember thinking how neat it would be to have an elevator in my school, and how funny it would be to skip the 19th floor in your building, especially after building a school upwards. I wondered about the goings on the 13th floor. But mostly I wondered what would happen if the elevator was out of order and where the gym was. Because if the elevator was out of order, and the gym was on an upper level, walking up thirty floors would negate the need for gym class.