Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Cloud of Doom

This winter my family began reading Wayside School books by Louis Sachar. My husband and I both remember reading these when we were younger, so it was a treat to dive into them and revisit all the craziness that occurs at Wayside School.

While we were checking them out of the on-line library we noticed there was a new one - The Cloud of Doom that was just released on March 3rd, 2020. More Wayside stories? We were sold.


I want to know what Louis Sachar knew when he was writing this book that the rest of us didn't. In fact, I think we should start looking at any Wall Street deals he had going on and any trades he made right before the pandemic hit, because, um, the story feels pretty true to life right now.

And published ten days before we were sent into our houses under our own clouds of doom?

Yeah, someone knew something to write a book about a Cloud of Doom settling over one elementary school. Pretty much sums up where we are.

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"What's the point" one of the Wayside School students asks his teacher in regards to why he should bother with his work... "The Cloud of Doom is getting bigger every day! ... What does it matter if we can spell?"

(I mean, it's like Sachar's heard every conversation happening inside the houses of all the kids trying on-line learning. "What's the point?")

The class agrees with the student until Mrs. Jewls, the teacher, replies, "I understand you're scared and upset, but what's the point of quitting? We can all sit around and grumple (read the book to get the joke), or we can try our best, cloud or no cloud."

"And it hasn't been all bad," Mrs. Jewls continued.... "Someday the Cloud of Doom will be gone and the world will be a much better place, even better than before the cloud. Colors will be more colorful. Music will be even more musical. Even Miss Mush's food will taste good. The bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow." 

We haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know how it ends. Maybe the Cloud of Doom will eat the school and this comparison will just make me really, really depressed. But right now, we're able to joke that we are currently living in the upside down world of Wayside School, and that we can follow Msrs. Jewls' words of hope. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your opinion of Mrs. Jewls, her classroom management skills, and Wayside School in general.

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