What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's virtually nothing to worry about in this cartoon series based on Louis Sachar's popular book series. The characters are quirky (the school principal dislikes kids, for example), and most of the adults come across as pretty out of touch with reality, but all in all, it's just the kind of humor that grade-schoolers will love. Cartoon peril (tumbles down stairs, bumps to the head) and platonic boy/girl crushes are mild and intermittent.
What's the story?
Based on the best-selling book series by Louis Sachar, WAYSIDE chronicles daily life at a school whose quirky students and oddball staff ensure that nothing is predictable and no two days are ever the same. The cartoon version of the Wayside story follows seemingly normal new student Todd (voiced by Mark Rendall) as he tries to fit in with his unusual peers. Whether it's chaotic class pet day or a heated dodgeball game to crown a class president, one thing's for sure: There's no telling what a day at Wayside holds in store for Todd -- or anyone else brave enough to enter.
Is it any good?
There's no doubt that Wayside School is a bit, well, different from most other grammar schools. Its very structure sets it apart: A builder's error led the school's 30 classrooms to be stacked on top of each other rather than laid out in a traditional one-story building. At Wayside School, you might be greeted by the cows who roam free amongst the students or the crotchety principal, Mr. Kidswatter, who ranks kids at the very top his list of life's irritants. The rest of the staff is as peculiar as their leader, right down to Miss Mush, the fearless school cook who delights in the unusual concoctions she creates ... which send the students running for their brown bags.
This fast-paced series is packed with the zany characters and scenarios that young grade-schoolers will love. Even better, it's virtually free of content likely to bother parents. Occasional mild cartoon peril and rare mention of crushes between students are about the extent of it, making Wayside a fun option for kids who've outgrown preschool shows but aren't quite ready for the true tween stuff.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the stuff that goes on at Wayside compares to what happens at real kids' schools. Kids: What do you think of the teachers at Wayside? Who are your favorites? Why do you like them? Do they seem to do much teaching, or does class time seem like a free-for-all? Do you think the kids learn very much there? How is your classroom different? What do you think life would be like at that school? Families who've read the books can also discuss how the show is similar and different. Is it what you pictured when you read the stories?