Let's get straight to the point: This is a very funny book. It's also based on a quirky premise, and Louis Sachar doesn't waste any time explaining it. "Wayside School was actually built sideways," he says. "It was supposed to be one story high, with thirty classrooms in a row. Instead it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry" (I.2-3).
This doesn't make any sense, but that's kind of the point of Sideways Stories from Wayside School. This book turns everything sideways, and the wacky architecture of the school might actually be the most normal thing about this totally nonsensical place.
So we learn from the introduction that we're about to be treated to thirty stories about the children and teachers at Wayside School. The author himself admits up front: we're in for some serious weirdness. "It has been said that these stories are strange and silly," he says. "That's probably true. However, when I told stories to you about the children at Wayside, they thought you were strange and silly. That is probably also true"(I.6).
We bet you didn't know you were a part of this story too. Well, now you do.