Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 20 Feb 2024

Test Trouble by Serena Patel

Thousands of children in all parts of the country will immediately feel a flame of recognition catch alight as they read the opening words of Test Trouble by Serena Patel:

“As soon as Miss Herbert said the words Maths Test and Next Week, Arun’s stomach dipped.”

For Arun, news of a test – and a maths test at that – completely blights his day. He’s rubbish at tests and simply goes to pieces at the prospect. Of course, all the adults around him say the usual stuff about how intelligent he is and that he should just relax and revise because he can do it ok – but for Arun this is all just making him feel the pressure even more.

Following a casual remark from his Uncle Paresh about Arun’s grandfather and his time as an activist campaigning against injustice, a plan forms in the young boy’s mind – he will mobilise his classmates against unfair tests at school.

Armed with placards and a megaphone he tries to rally the ranks – and completely fails. Some of his classmates agree with him of course but they’re not prepared to take on the school hierarchy. Arun gets a sympathetic dressing down from the head teacher and that puts an end to that particular plan.

But he’s not completely out of ideas. There may just be other ways to slip out of the impending humiliation – maybe he could be ill…….? It does help the plan, of course, if you’re ill on the right day!

If you’re dreading something like school tests, it certainly doesn’t help if there are classmates – like Kale - who are confident and aren’t shy in telling you so. But Arun discovers things aren’t quite always as they seem to be and the tale takes an interesting twist when he plays his last desperate card and heads to the school toilets to hide.

But I’m not telling you any more because if you want to discover what happens to Arun and whether he survives the trial by test, you’ll have to buy the book for yourself to find out. 

Published by the ever-wonderful Barrington Stoke, who specialise in books for reluctant readers of all kinds, you will be able to get this from your local independent bookshop – who will be happy to order it for you if they don’t have it on their shelves.


Terry Potter

February 2024.