Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Louis Sachar

I'm sitting in my office, which is located over the garage of my house in Austin, Texas. My dogs, Lucky and Tippy, are here with me. They are the only people allowed in my office when I'm writing.
Lucky seems to understand that. He growls at my wife or my daughter if they try to enter. Maybe he hears me growling on the inside.

Lucky doesn't realize I'm not working on a book right now. Instead, I'm having to write this biography for my publisher. I'm not sure what people want to know about me. I'm afraid that my life isn't as interesting as people imagine it to be.

I write every morning. After about two hours, I can feel myself losing energy and concentration. It's best to quit when I'm still excited about what I'm writing. Then I'll be ready to go when I start the next day.

I couldn't write for a longer amount of time, even if I wanted to. Tippy has gotten used to my schedule, and after two hours she taps me with her paw, howls, barks, and otherwise lets me know it's time for her walk.

I never talk about a book until I'm finished writing it. (Lucky and Tippy are sworn to secrecy as well.) It took me a year and a half to write Holes, and nobody knew anything about it, not even my wife or my daughter. I think that is helpful for writing, as well as for anything else that takes a lot of self-motivation. The more you talk about something, the less you tend to do it. By not permitting myself to talk about Holes, I was forced to write it. The story was growing inside me for a year and a half, and I had no other way to let it out.

I write five or six drafts of each of my books. With each draft, the story changes and the ideas are transformed. What amazes me is that most days feel useless. I don't seem to accomplish anything -- just a few pages, most of which don't seem very good. Yet, when I put all those wasted days together, I somehow end up with a book of which I'm very proud. Somehow I've now written eighteen books.

In case you need this for a homework assignment, I'll include some facts about my life.

I was born in East Meadow, New York, in 1954. My father's office was on the 78th floor of the Empire State Building, which I still think is pretty cool.

When I was nine, we moved to Tustin, California. I went to college at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 1976, as an economics major.

The year after I graduated from college, I wrote my first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I was working at a sweater warehouse during the day and wrote at night. Almost a year later, I was fired from the job. I decided to go to law school.

I attended Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. My first book was published while I was in law school. I graduated in 1980. For the next eight years I worked part-time as a lawyer and continued to try to write children's books. Then my books started selling well enough so that I was able to quit practicing law.

My wife's name is Carla. When I first met her, she was a counselor at an elementary school. She was the inspiration behind the counselor in There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. We were married in 1985. Our daughter, Sherre, was born in 1987. She was four years old when I started writing the Marvin Redpost series. That's why Marvin has a four-year-old sister.

In my spare time, I like to play bridge and tennis. I'm a much better bridge player than tennis player. The other evening, I played tennis with a teacher. She clobbered me. When I found out she was a fourth-grade teacher, I told her who I was. She was very impressed. She couldn't wait to tell her class she had killed Louis Sachar playing tennis!

One thing I always want to know about my favorite authors is who their favorite authors are, so I will end with that. My list includes E. L. Doctorow, J. D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Kazuo Ishiguro, Flannery O'Connor, Rex Stout, Katherine Paterson, and E. B. White.

(Tippy is beginning to whine. Now she's tapping my leg . . .)


"Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls' 30th-floor classroom haven't changed a bit." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Sachar's return to Wayside continues the same side-splitting formula, but a little added polish, overall cohesion, and character development may make this one the best of the bunch. An unbeatable read-aloud option for early middle-grade audiences." -- Booklist

"Sachar's snappy comedic stride doesn't miss a beat in his series' fourth installment--the first since 1995's Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger--as the curiosities of Mrs. Jewls's 30th-floor classroom multiply more quickly than ever... Into the regaling levity, Sachar characteristically slips worthy nuggets about the rewards of kindness and friendship." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"After 40 years, Wayside School is still a delight. It still tickles the funny bone with the most ridiculous scenarios." -- School Library Journal

"With its gonzo humor, nonsensical non sequiturs, and mysterious mustachioed grownups, Wayside School fans should eat this up (spaghetti and feetballs, anyone?)." -- Horn Book Magazine

"Even with more of a traditional through-line, this book maintains the chaotic sense of randomness that was so appealing in earlier volumes. And there are still plenty of puns ("spaghetti and feetballs" is served in the cafeteria), pileups (that skateboard left on the stairs will come into play) and jabs at educators (like the implication that anytime a teacher asks a student to write a word on the board it's because the teacher doesn't know how to spell it), with that touch of Dada-esque lunacy that "Wayside" veterans have come to expect." -- New York Times Book Review