Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Chapter 16

By Louis Sachar

Chapter 16


  • So we've had kids with beautiful eyes, cute teeth, and curly hair. Now we meet D.J., who has a huge, beaming smile. Daemon, whose smile is almost as big, is D.J.'s best friend.
  • D.J.'s smile is contagious, and soon the entire class is smiling, though they don't know why D.J. is. Even when Jason is sad about coming to class late, D.J.'s smile fixes everything: "[…] when he saw the piano on D.J.'s face, he fell, laughing, onto the floor" (16.8). Even terrible Kathy laughs.
  • The whole classroom—inanimate objects included—laughs.
  • Mrs. Jewls asks D.J. why he's so happy, but he can't answer because his mouth is too stretched out to say anything.
  • The class offers to guess why he's happy, but no one gets the answer. D.J. keeps right on smiling.
  • At recess, Louis calls D.J. over and asks him why he's so happy. D.J. gives a fantastic, surprisingly Zen answer: "You need a reason to be sad. You don't need a reason to be happy" (16.24).