Sachar, L. (1989). Wayside School Is Falling Down. New York: Avon Books.
Continuing with the Wayside Series, what’s interesting with the second book is that, while the majority of chapters are still character sketches, there is more overlap and continuation of conflicts among the chapters. (The same is true for the third book as well).
Students that liked the first book will undoubtedly like the second and third books as well (however, usually disappointments about with the fourth book). Readers get to see more into the mysteriously missing nineteenth floor, the school basement, learn more about the characters and their families as well as have fun with language.
Rereading these books, I always want to re-check Sachar’s biography. With his writing, I feel like he has spent more time as a teacher.
Activities to do with the book:
The entire series is great for dramatization or having students write their own chapters or stories in response.
An unexpected lesson of these books is best for teachers. Within the first three books of the series, multiple teaching styles are presented. Teachers can take away views of teaching and discipline from the child’s perspective, which is always a wonderful view to keep in mind.
“You don’t hate stories, Dana,” Mrs. Jewls told her. “You love stories. I wish everybody laughed and cried as much as you” (p. 65).
“Miss Zarves assigns us a lot of busy work so we don’t have time to think. She makes us memorize stupid things so that we don’t think about the important things. And then she gives us good grades to keep us happy” (p. 102).