Friday, February 28, 2014

"Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants"

Allison Gutknecht grew up in Voorhees, New Jersey. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her Master’s degree in Children’s Media and Literature from NYU. Gutknecht lives in New York City with her rambunctious toy poodle, Gypsy, and her literate cat, Folly.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her first novel, Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants (and Other Lessons I've Learned), and reported the following:
From page 69:
[I raise my hand but Mrs. Spangle does not] call on me, even though this is an emergency.

"Now that you all have your scripts in front of you," she begins, still ignoring my hand, "let's go over who is playing whom." I wave my hand back and forth in case she cannot see it.

"First, Mandy is going to be our narrator," Mrs. Spangle continues, motioning for me to lower my hand. "She is going to introduce all of our presidents to the audience."

I shoot my arm in the air again.

"Yes?" she calls on me.

"I am supposed to be George Washington," I explain, and I feel tears tickling the back of my eyes.

"The narrator is going to be a great part for you. You'll see," Mrs. Spangle says. "Now, who's next? Follow along in your scripts."

Natalie raises her hand.

"Right, Natalie, tell everyone your part."
By page 69, Mandy Berr has been waiting for days and days for Mrs. Spangle to confirm that she has been granted the role of George Washington in her second grade class's Presidential Pageant, a part Mandy knows she was born to play. After all, George Washington was the first president, and Mandy was born first in her family, so it only seems fair. Mandy is also quite certain that Mrs. Spangle is going to give the dullest role in the Pageant to her greatest nemesis, Natalie, who is boring, bossy, and no fun at all.

As it turns out, page 69 is one of the most traumatic episodes of the book for Mandy, as she discovers that Mrs. Spangle has assigned her the role of the Presidential Pageant's narrator. Besides great disappointment at this reveal, Mandy is now gearing up to hear the "worst news she has ever heard in her life" on the very first line of page 70. What is it? Well for once, Natalie has something to announce that is anything but boring!
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--Marshal Zeringue