Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Choices

By Louis Sachar

Choices

The children didn't know what to do. They didn't have a teacher. Even though Mrs. Gorf was mean, they didn't think it was right to leave her as an apple. But none of them knew how to wiggle their ears. (1.32)

This is a choice most elementary school kids never have to make, and thankfully Louis shows up at just the right moment to save the students from having to decide Mrs. Gorf's fate. What do you think they would have done without him?

Dana was so upset that she forgot to thank him. Myron didn't mind. He thought that was what being class president was all about. (8.26)

Myron's story is all about making good choices. He helps Dana save her puppy simply because he thinks it's his job as class president, but is that really why he does it? Myron is a great listener and a very good friend, and even though he loses his job as president because of his choices, his heart is in the right place.

It was just a simple matter of being able to think clearly. That was all. Paul thought it over and decided not to pull one. It was as simple as that. (10.18)

Paul's chapter is also about making choices, but it's about making the wrong choices. Even though Paul decides not to pull Leslie's dangling pigtails, which hover temptingly in front of him, his arm makes a different decision and pulls Leslie's pigtail anyway. Too bad, Paul.

Deedee never seemed to notice the signs. She jumped down the stairs. Some children took the stairs two at a time. Deedee took them ten at a time. (15.4)

Deedee has a problem, and she doesn't let things like rules or signs get in her way. In this case, Deedee's choices clearly show her priorities: green balls are more important than rules.

At lunch, Leslie walked up to Louis. "Okay, Louis," she said, "you can have my toes for a nickel apiece. That will be fifty cents." (18.33)

Leslie thinks her own toes are useless, and her story is about making choices based on that opinion. While her choice may seem pretty silly, it also illustrates the genius of Louis the yard teacher, who seems to have a knack for steering Leslie away from a disastrous decision.

She had given her food to her lunch teacher, her book to the librarian, and her ball to the yard teacher. She went inside the classroom. (23.24)

Allison, generous to a fault, makes the choice to give up everything she's brought to school because she's trying to pay back good deeds done by others. Do you think she make her choices for good reasons?

But then Joy had second thoughts. She put back the cake. Then she grabbed Dameon's whole lunch. (27.6)

Joy, missing her own lunch and tempted by Dameon's, decides to steal Dameon's lunch and eat it. She doesn't even get in trouble for it—but her own conscience punishes her later. Here's a case of a bad choice and the negative consequences that go with it.