A fun, energetic new installment in Louis Sachar's Wayside School series.
On the thirtieth floor at Wayside School, Mrs Jewls's class continues apace. All sorts of weird and wonderful things are going on. The kids are trying to collect one million nail clippings, Kathy has a bad case of “oppositosis” (she can't help but counter everything with its opposite), Jason is bravely trying to read a book with 999 pages and Mrs Jewls likes to rhapsodise on the wonders of the humble paper clip. There is much consternation when the children are taken to the rooftop to study cloud formations. Mrs Jewls describes the different types of clouds, but suddenly gasps when a dark cloud is spotted. With horror, she pronounces it the "Cloud of Doom".
Acclaimed children's writer Louis Sachar's latest book is a treat. Relentlessly inventive and comic, with 30 quick-moving chapters, it makes for a satisfying holiday read. The broad cast of characters is especially enjoyable: there is the librarian Mrs Surlaw with her giant stuffed walrus students can hug, the eccentric psychiatrist Dr Pickell and the hilariously mean Kathy (“That beard is really ugly. I guess your face must be even worse, huh?”). The school cook, Miss Mush, and her famous Rainbow Stew, should not be missed.
This is the kind of pitch-perfect book that can be safely put into the hands of any child. Adults will get a kick out of it too!
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom, by Louis Sachar. Bloomsbury. $14.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books