1999's Buckeye Children's Book Award winner for grades 3-5 was Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar. I had read the original Wayside book when I was a kid and loved it, so it was fun to get to read another in the series.
After the school has been closed for a year (due to being overrun by cows) the students return to Wayside. But Mrs. Jewls, the adored teacher from the original book, is going to be out for maternity leave, and has various substitutes filling in while she's out. One such substitute happens to be Mr. Gorf, the son of the infamous Mrs. Gorf, the teacher before Mrs. Jewls who turned kids into apples!
Hijinks abound in this book, continuing the silly theme of the 1st two books with pranks, made up words, and a little bit of magic. I'm not at all surprised that this book is one Ohio students voted for because who wouldn't laugh at the antics the Wayside kids get up to? It should be noted that while you can still understand the story without having read the previous books, there are several references to the first two books that will go unnoticed if you haven't started from the first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, so I recommend reading these books in order.
Fun fact: the three substitutes' names are animals spelled backwards. Mr. Gorf is "frog," Mrs. Drazil is "lizard," and Mrs. Nogard "dragon."
I also find the short chapters very appealing. There are 30 chapters (due to there being 30 stories in Wayside) but each chapter is only a few pages long, which is ideal for grades 3-5. Each chapter is very different, so it's also hard to explain this book as a whole. It's one of those books that is just meant to be read aloud, without much explanation, so dive in!
It looks like we are in for some very silly books with our next couple of winners, Jill! I like seeing when the "boom" of humor books for kids really kicks in.
Please join us in our reading challenge! We welcome anyone at any time! :)