Book: Wayside School: Beneath the Cloud of Doom (2020)
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: MG, Humour
Rating: 4 stars
Basic plot: The students from Wayside School are back. And of course, they’re all the way up on the 30th floor in Mrs. Jewls’ class. Not only is there the Ultimate Test, but there’s a very scary Cloud of Doom that’s making everybody just a little testy.
1) The Author’s Note at the beginning made me smile. Louis Sachar reminisces about how he wrote the first book forty years ago and… well, I won’t spoil it here. You have to read it yourself.
2) I think everybody from the Wayside universe makes some sort of appearance. Except maybe Mrs. Gorf. (Thank goodness!) Yes, even that mysterious class on the 19th story. (Except, there is no 19th story.)
3) As I was reading about the Cloud of Doom, I couldn’t believe that Louis Sachar would have written this before the existence of COVID-19. I like the optimism that the book has.
4) One of my favourite stories/sequences involved Stephen and the gong. I love how he was mistakenly chosen. And then there’s the build-up to just… Breathe.
5) Another favourite story involves Jason and the book that 999 pages. I love how the librarian arranges her library and how Jason tries to out-do the other students, only to have to read the longest book in the history of the world. (Not really, but 999 pages is a really long book!) And the outcome—how he comes to feel about the book—is one of the best moments for me!
6) This book made me want to start collection 1 million toe nails just like they do in Mrs. Jewls’ class. 😉
7) And of course, you can’t have a Wayside book without Louis the yard teacher. He doesn’t seem to be in the book as much as in previous books, but he does have that umbrella scene!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) I have mixed feelings about the ending of this book. In one way, I liked it. But, in another way, it wasn’t quite as satisfactory as I’d hoped. Maybe it was because I had a hard time trying to imagine the grey-goop they were supposed to eat. And when I did, I tried not to imagine it because it caused a gagging-reflex in me! I did feel glad for Miss Mush, though. Finally, she had something going for her at Wayside School.
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I was very excited when I saw this book and put a hold on it way before the libraries closed. The book finally came in this past week! Yay! I tried not to read it too fast, but let myself enjoy the story. I’d definitely recommend this to anybody who loves Wayside School. Yes, it’s been forty years, but the kids and Mrs. Jewls and Louis the Yard Teacher are still the same.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…