Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School The Supernatural

By Louis Sachar

The Supernatural

It wouldn't be Wayside without weirdness, and one way this weirdness shows up is through supernatural events. Sometimes these are subtle—like furniture that can laugh—but sometimes we get full-on witchcraft. Anytime Mrs. Gorf shows up, get ready for magic, ghosts, and spells. And Sammy the dead rat seems to have some strange powers too, since he can talk through infinite layers of filthy raincoats. Plus, since when can dead rats talk, anyway?

Nothing at Wayside seems to follow any rules, so magic isn't in every chapter, but there's definitely a healthy dose of it in Sideways Stories.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. The magic in this book is very inconsistent—sometimes it shows up, and sometimes not. How does this contribute to the atmosphere at Wayside School?
  2. The supernatural story elements in Sideways Stories are often creepy. Are there times when magic is used for fun instead?
  3. Mrs. Gorf could clearly do magic. Does Mrs. Jewls know magic too? Why do you think so?
  4. In this book, it seems like only the adults can have magical powers, and not the kids. Why do you think that's the case?

Chew on This

Supernatural events are just one way Louis Sachar demonstrates that Wayside School is unusual.

Magic is the most predictable thing at Wayside. Once you figure out how it works—like Mrs. Gorf and her wiggling ears—it makes more sense than just about everything else.