Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Chapter 1

By Louis Sachar

Chapter 1

Mrs. Gorf

  • When our story begins, Mrs. Gorf is the teacher in the classroom on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. The first thing we learn about her is that she likes to turn children into apples by wiggling her ears and sticking out her tongue: "Mrs. Gorf didn't like children, but she loved apples" (1.2). Yikes.
  • One by one, Mrs. Gorf turns the children in her classroom into apples. They don't even need to misbehave—she turns Todd into an apple for getting a math problem wrong—and then she leaves all of the apples on her desk overnight, even though "their parents were very worried" (1.13).
  • In less than two days, Mrs. Gorf turns twelve kids into apples.
  • Enter Louis, the yard teacher. Certainly—since he's an adult and all—he'll be able to deduce that something is very wrong in this half-empty classroom. Right? Wrong. Louis' hilarious logic doesn't help the situation: "She must be a good teacher if so many children bring her apples" (1.22), he thinks.
  • The next day, Louis comes back to see twenty-four apples on the desk and only three kids in the classroom. Surely he'll clue in at this point, right? Nope—more apples just must mean Mrs. Gorf is "the best teacher in the world" (1.23), as far as Louis is concerned.
  • Needless to say, by the end of the week, "all of the children were apples" (1.24). Mrs. Gorf is absolutely thrilled, because with no kids left to teach, she's just wiggled her ears into a permanent vacation.
  • Not so fast there, Mrs. Gorf.
  • Kid-turned-apple Todd speaks up and organizes his fellow apples, and an apple rebellion ensues. Todd bops Mrs. Gorf on the nose, inspiring his classmates to do the same.
  • Unable to withstand a massive apple attack, Mrs. Gorf turns all the apples back into children. When they threaten to get Louis and spill Mrs. Gorf's secret, Mrs. Gorf starts wiggling her ears, but Jenny holds up a mirror, and Mrs. Gorf turns herself into an apple. Oops.
  • Louis walks in and asks where Mrs. Gorf is, but the kids remain silent. Louis sees a shiny new apple on the desk. Thinking Mrs. Gorf won't mind, he eats it for a snack.
  • How'd you like them apples, Mrs. Gorf?