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Wayside School: Beneath the Cloud of Doom

Louis Sachar writes a most delightful School Story. He has the ability to make the most outrageous statements seem quite commonplace. Todd was in Mrs Jewl’s class on the 30th floor…..It was important not to be late for class. The author also introduces humor through language…the Principal’s name was Mr Kidswatter, through speech,” I’m going to be a paper clip bender when I grow up,” and through actions, such as when the Councillor hypnotises himself. The story is written in such a matter of fact way that the reader smiles and accepts the unusual.

Each chapter in the book is almost a complete short story but the common thread that links them together are the characters in the classroom and their reactions to school issues. Things are running relatively smoothly until “The Cloud of Doom,” moves to hover over Wayside School. It turns the sweetest child into a brooding, disobedient pupil, and everyone is on edge. Something drastic will need to be done to shift this cloud.

Many aspects of school life are written about. The Librarian has a large stuffed walrus in her Library. Her name is Mrs Surlaw…She did not believe in books being separated into Fiction and Nonfiction, “Who was she to decide what was true and what wasn’t?” Her books were organised by the number of pages. Skinny books at one end and fatter books at the other. The children knew where to look for an enjoyable story.

In the author’s note we learn that this is the fourth book about the Wayside School. The first book being written more than forty years ago. Louis has included himself in a small cameo in the book as the yard teacher, who blows up the balls and plays with the kids at recess time. The style and creative stories will make this as popular as the previous books in this series.


AuthorLouis Sachar. Illustrations Tim Heitz
PublisherBloomsbury Children's Books
DistributorBloomsbury Childrens Books
ReleasedApril 2020