allison gutknecht
writer of books for kids

Bio & Books

Allison Gutknecht is the author of the Mandy Berr series, beginning with Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants (and Other Lessons I've Learned).  After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her master’s degree in Children’s Media and Literature from NYU.  Allison grew up in Voorhees, NJ, and now lives in New York City with her rambunctious toy poodle, Gypsy, and her literate cat, Folly. 






Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants

(and Other Lessons I've Learned)

Wahoo! Mandy Berr’s second grade class is hosting its very own Presidential Pageant, and Mandy just knows she would be perfect for the role of George Washington. After all, he was the first president, and Mandy was born first in her family, so it only seems fair.

But Mandy’s teacher, Mrs. Spangle, has other casting plans in mind, and Mandy is not happy to be forced to share center stage. She already spends all of her time at home leaping out of the shadows created by her pesky brother, Timmy, and the constantly-crying newborn twins, and Mandy is not going to be ignored at school, too. Can she fight her way back into the spotlight and find her own way to shine? With the help of some lucky polka-dot underwear, anything is possible.

Release Date: 11/12/13
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


A Cast Is the Perfect Accessory
(and Other Lessons I've Learned)


Mandy Berr never even knew how much she wanted a cast until Natalie -- boring old Natalie! -- broke her own wrist.  Now, figuring out a way to get her own beautiful cast, or at least all of the glory that such an accessory brings, is all that Mandy can think about.  

        Not only is Natalie getting entirely too much attention, but Mrs. Spangle has assigned Mandy's most favorite person in the world (at least most of the time), Anya, to be Natalie's buddy.  It was bad enough when Natalie took Mandy's George Washington part in the Presidential Pageant; there is no way Mandy is going to let her steal her best friend, too!  

        Can Mandy figure out how to keep her friendship with Anya, along with all of her bones, in one piece?  If she just had some fancy-dancy periwinkle sunglasses perched on her nose, she is certain all of her wishes would come true.

Release Date: 3/4/14
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster




Never Wear Red Lipstick on Picture Day
(and Other Lessons I've Learned)


The most magical day of the school year – Picture Day! – is fast approaching, and Mandy Berr is looking for a special something to complete her outfit. Her fancy-dancy sunglasses, sparkly scarf, and pink handbag are all up for consideration, but Mandy isn't sure any of them have the razzmatazz she needs. Plus, Natalie has been copying all of Mandy’s accessorizing ideas – what if she does the same on the big day?

As if picking out the best look for her picture weren't enough to worry about, Principal Jacks announces a contest for the entire school: whoever has the best cafeteria behavior gets to eat lunch with him in the super-mysterious teacher's lounge. Mandy desperately wants to win, but the always-terrible Dennis seems determined to get her into trouble. Will Mandy find a way to rise above Natalie the copycat and Dennis the pest?  With the shiny tube of lipstick tucked inside her handbag, Mandy is only seeing red.


Release Date: 11/11/14
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster







Pizza Is the Best Breakfast
(and Other Lessons I've Learned)


Fabulous! Mandy is super-excited that one of her favorite people in the world – her older cousin, Paige – is coming for a visit. With hair like a waterfall and boots that click-clack when she walks (plus, a fellow appreciation for Rainbow Sparkle), in Mandy’s eyes, Paige is all things good and glittery.

But when Paige arrives, she definitely is not as fabulous as Mandy remembers. She doesn’t like Rainbow Sparkle anymore, insists on calling Mandy by the wrong name, and, worst of all, actually wants to hang out with pesky Timmy and the terrible twins. And Mandy does not like this new Paige one bit!

When Grandmom suggests the girls try to clear the air by working together to make some fancy-dancy meals for the family, Mandy fears there may be one too many bosses in the kitchen. Will the two girls ever remember why they are each other’s favorite cousin – or will this plan go up in smoke?


Release Date: 3/3/15
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster


The Bling Queen


Seventh grader Tess Maven loves all fashion, but she has a soft spot for accessories. She religiously reads Micellaneous Moxie – the top online fashion blog – to gain inspiration for how to dress up even the dullest of outfits, and she utilizes these tricks daily with a rotating array of top-notch looks of her own. So when Tess sets up her own business as the resident accessorizing stylist of Twining Ridge Middle School, she doesn’t have to wait long for a line of clients, all looking for that perfect finishing touch to complete their special occasion ensembles, to appear. With all of her expertise, Tess just has to win her favorite blog’s design-your-own-accessory contest, right? She is the official Bling Queen after all!

     But when Tess’s precious locket from her beloved grandmother goes missing during one of her fashion consultations, the number of potential suspects is large, beginning with Tess’s newfound frenemy, Kayte, a self-proclaimed fashionista all her own. Tess has already lost her favorite necklace – can she now prevent Kayte from stealing her queenly bling crown, too, or can she manage to hold onto her highly accessorized throne? 


Release Date: 9/27/16
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

Spring Break Mistake

After years of suffering through the most boring spring vacations ever, Avalon Kelly is ready for a week of adventure. On a hash-tagged whim, she entered the PhotoReady app’s spring break getaway contest – and won! What could be more exciting than five whole days exploring and taking pictures of one of the most photographed places in the world?

     But right away, this trip of a lifetime isn’t turning out as planned. Avalon’s best friend isn’t one of the PhotoReady winners, which means that not only will Avalon have to venture to the Big Apple by herself, but she’ll be assigned a stranger as a roommate. The perky and talkative Sofia seems pleasant enough, but snooty Kensington – who was placed in Room 609 at the last moment due to a mix-up – is a whole other story. Not only are the girls not bonding, but within an hour of meeting, they’re barely even speaking to one another, and the tension has left Avalon with a hearty dose of homesickness.

     Just when Avalon is about ready to abandon the trip entirely, one of the fellow contest winners, the cute and mysterious Tate, disappears from the group, and the Room 609 girls must band together, using the clues within their photographs, if they have any hope of tracking him down. Will the view of New York City through her camera lens – plus the view of the Tate down the sidewalk – be enough to convince Avalon to stick it out for the full week? Or will the two roommates help turn what was supposed to be the best spring break ever into the biggest mistake of Avalon’s life? 


Release Date: 3/7/17
Aladdin/Simon and Schuster

 

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