Monday, September 4, 2017


Allan Woodrow is the author of Unschooled, Class Dismissed, The Pet War and numerous other books for middle grade readers, some under secret names.

Woodrow applied the Page 69 Test to his latest book, Unschooled, which is set in the same world as Class Dismissed, and reported the following:
Unschooled is narrated by two rotating characters, George and his best friend Lilly. They are excited to compete together during their school’s 5th grade Spirit Week competition, until they are named captains for the two opposing teams. The winner of the week, which features a series of contests, gets a mystery prize. Students try to figure out the prize, but their stabs grow more and more outlandish and ridiculous, and competition grows fiercer with every guess. Soon, cheating, sliming and sabotaging threaten to ruin the week, and George and Lilly’s long-time friendship is threatened.

Page 69 is the first page of chapter twelve, and is told from Lilly’s perspective. Lilly is the captain for Team Red.
When you’re the leader of a team you need to get everyone motivated. Last night I was going to make small clay frogs for all of Team Red. There’s an animal called the red poison dart frog that’s bright red and poisonous. I thought it could be our mascot, which would be awesomesauce.

But by the time I finished my research, it was sort of late and it would take a long time to make that many frogs and I only had so much clay, so I only made three of them, and I never got around to giving them legs or painting them red, so I left them at home. Maybe I’ll finish them tonight. I asked Mom to buy a lot more clay, just in case.

But we don’t really need motivation to win, anyway. Not today. Sarah had a great idea that should guarantee us another victory today.
In this section, we get a glimpse of Lilly embracing her new role as team captain and are reminded that her hobby is making clay sculptures (an activity that has already been established). More importantly, we learn she hasn’t finished what she set out to do: making a figurine for everyone on the team. Lilly doesn’t finish anything, from homework to pet projects— and her failure to finish things, and to plan ahead, is a problem that will play an important role in her failure to prepare her team properly for some of the Spirit Week events.

Also, Lilly has asked Mom to buy ‘a lot more clay.’ While it comes off as a throwaway line, it’s not. Her upcoming abundance of clay, which she will not use on figurines, will play a big role in getting her team out of trouble after performing an act of sabotage against George’s team.

Lastly, in the final paragraph shown here, we learn that Sarah had a “great idea that should guarantee us another victory.” This hints at the cheating that will soon ruin that day’s Spirit Week event, and which sets up the pattern of ever-spiraling mischief yet to come.
Visit Allan Woodrow's website.

The Page 69 Test: Class Dismissed.

My Book, The Movie: Unschooled.

--Marshal Zeringue