[Update 8/21/08: Click here for our review of Wayside School Season 1]
For those of you who read and have a good memory, I’ve got some interesting news! Remember the Wayside series? Neither do I, but the only book that I vaguely remember is the one about the school falling down… Anyway it’s being turned into a TV series on Nickelodeon.
Welcome to Wayside, a wacky 30-story grade school where off-the-wall events are an everyday occurrence. The new half-hour animated series that takes school to new heights debuts on Nickelodeon on Monday, June 25 at 12:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The 26-episode series will air regularly on weekdays at 12:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
Based on the best-selling Wayside School book series by Louis Sachar (“Sideways Stories from Wayside School,” “Holes”) and produced by Nelvana, Wayside chronicles the adventures of Mrs. Jewls’ class on the 30th floor as they navigate their way through the ups, ups and ups of grade school. The series is seen through the eyes of Todd, an average “Joe” who is new to Wayside, as he befriends Maurecia, the tough girl who finds it easier to express herself with physical actions rather than words, Dana, the over-emotional over-achiever and Myron, the ineptly ambitious politician in a school that, due to a “slight” miscalculation, was built 30 classrooms on top one another rather than the one floor planned. Their peers include the boy who wears his Halloween elf costume every day, a boy who spends his days upside down and a girl who’s always asleep, in addition to the eccentric faculty and the cows that randomly roam the school.
“Generations of readers have enjoyed Wayside tales from Louis Sachar, and now fans can watch their favorite stories come to life as its first-ever TV series joins Nickelodeon’s hit animation line-up,” said Tom Ascheim, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Nickelodeon Television. “The stories are absurdly funny interpretations of how kids perceive the world around them and the issues they face in their daily lives.”
In the first part of the premiere episode, “Oh, Great Leader,” the students try to throw Wayside’s principal a surprise birthday party. But when Principal Kidswatter mistakenly assumes they are attempting to “overthrow” him, he recruits “new kid” Todd (a.k.a. Agent 344) to spy for him. Todd, feeling a little insecure about his place in Mrs. Jewls’ class, questions his new friends and their wacky ways.
In “Meet the Pets,” the second half of the premiere episode, everyone brings their pet to class and leaves Todd, the only kid in class who doesn’t have one, to watch their animals while they go out for recess. Chaos ensues when the pets escape, but Todd is able to learn a lesson in responsibility – and about himself – when a visit from the past encourages him to take control.
Louis Sachar’s first book, “Sideways Stories >From Wayside School,” was written in 1976. He has since written more than twenty books for young people, including four more in the Wayside School Series, as well as the Newbery award-winning book “Holes.” His books have sold more than 15 million copies world-wide and have been translated into more than 30 languages. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie, Holes. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Carla.