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Wayside School

Wayside School

A fun concept (with a school built sideways 30 stories tall), but I don’t like the teachers … or the students.

The Wayside School Collection.

The Wayside School Collection.

Maybe it was one of those cases where you’re quickly (and deeply) influenced by a comment from someone else–especially someone you respect. We got back in the car and we all wanted to listen to the audiobook some more. It’s remarkable to note that when the kids are into a book, they don’t forget and the minute we get back in the car, even if we’re just going ten minutes, they want the story back on. They were short stories (each chapter based on another student or teacher) so they were great errand-running length for the car.

The kids keep calling other kids ugly or stupid. Lots.

There were really funny chapters now and again. The one teacher who turned all of her students into apples. Then someone came into the classroom and ate one of the apples … but that was the apple that the teacher was! One kid turned out to be … a dead rat. It’s great fun for 7 and 10-year old boys who love rats and people eating teachers. Got some good laughs from the back seat.

But kids, especially boys, can handle being called “ugly” or “stupid,” right?

Based on very-real-life notes home from the teacher, it’s not just about sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Boys are sensitive, too. In fact, we have next to no notes about anything physical going on at school, it’s all more who is friends with whom and who’s allowed to play which game. It’s also about ugly and stupid, so this book hit home a little too closely.

So do I want to “shelter” my kids from books that talk about, well, reality? It’s a tough call. How does the book deal with the situation? Maybe we could learn from that, right? So how did the book deal with it? The teacher said all the right things, “Now that’s not nice, Jimmy.” “That’s now how we talk to other children, right, Sally?” (I’m paraphrasing.) I don’t know how much the kids take in “lessons” from the books they read (or listen to).

But as entertainment, it was just getting a little old with the bullying and name calling and those stories lost their, well, storyline for me. We got home and we were about done with the book, but I’m not sure I’ll put it back on. I’m also getting better at my newly-found love of borrowing books through the library using the Overdrive app.

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