Micah's Super Vlog: The Big Fail


By Andy McGuire

With Girish Manuel

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When deciding whether to keep up the lie of his “A paper,” will Micah admit his mistakes or risk losing his friends?

Based on the popular JellyTelly show, Micah’s Super Vlog, book two in this series finds Micah wrestling with a decision facing every kid his age: to study or play video games? Micah chooses to ditch his responsibility, so it’s no surprise when the result is a big . . . F. Seeing that his friends did well on the same test, Micah is too ashamed to show his grade before changing the F to an A with a marker. Although he knows it’s wrong, Micah feels the need to keep up the façade . . . which only leads to more lying. Will Micah continue to be dishonest, or admit his mistakes before things spin so far out of control that he loses his friends?


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Just before the bell rang, the kids in Micah Murphy’s fifth-grade classroom headed to their seats. Their teacher, Mr. Turtell, wasn’t there yet, so everyone talked among themselves.

Micah and his classmates were surprised that Mr. Turtell wasn’t sitting at his desk, waiting for class to begin promptly on time—he was the strictest teacher in all of New Leaf Elementary. Mr. Turtell would never be late. Mr. Turtell wouldn’t normally undermine the authority of the tardy bell like this. What on earth could have happened this morning?

Surprising as it was that their teacher was MIA, there was only one topic of conversation as the students waited for Mr. Turtell to arrive: tomorrow’s local history test.

“I heard it’s going to be hard,” said Liam.

“I heard it’s going to be really hard!” said Abby.

“I heard it has questions about stuff from the beginning of the school year!” said Katie.

“I heard it has questions about stuff Mr. Turtell hasn’t even taught us yet!” said Mara.

“I heard it has questions about history that hasn’t even happened yet!” added Chet.

Mr. Turtell still hadn’t arrived, so the kids got louder and more excited, each trying to one-up the other.

“I heard even history teachers would get an F on it!” said Eric.

“I heard even Albert Einstein would get an F on it!” said Akira.

“I heard even the guy at the state fair who guesses people’s age and weight would get an F on it!” said Gabe. “And he knows everything!”

No one knew how to top that one.

“Well, I’m not going to get an F,” said Armin. “I’m going to study for three hours straight!”

“Oh, yeah?” said Hanz. “I’m going to drink five cups of coffee and study all night!”

“I’m studying right now!” said Lydia.

By this point everyone in the entire classroom had said something about the test. Well, almost everyone.

All eyes turned to Micah, who was doodling on his notebook cover. He was trying to draw a Captain Karate Dino Cop from his Captain Karate Dino Cop game, but it was hard to get the triceratops judo chop stance just right. He looked up.

“Sorry—did I miss something?”

Armin sighed. “We’re talking about tomorrow’s big history test. You want to study with Lydia, Gabe, and me?”

“Why? Is it supposed to be hard?” Micah asked.

The whole class burst out laughing. Micah knew it was at him, but he didn’t get the joke.

Mr. Turtell walked into the classroom just as the bell rang. “Have a seat, everyone,” he said, despite the fact that everyone was already in their chairs. He placed his turtle-shaped lunch box in the drawer of his turtle-covered desk and hung his jacket on a turtle-decorated coat hook on the wall.

Mr. Turtell’s classroom was the weirdest in the whole school, which was quite a feat, since Miss

Tibby’s room had real live snakes and tarantulas in it! Picture the way your yard looks in autumn, when the leaves fall from the trees so fast and thick you can’t see an inch of the ground anymore. Mr. Turtell’s classroom was exactly like that, only instead of leaves, it was turtles.

They were everywhere!

There were turtles of all makes and models: box, sea, snapping, ninja. Some made of plastic, some glass, some clay. Several were made of things that used to be edible but weren’t anymore. If you weren’t careful, your eyes would wander from turtle to turtle like a crazy game of connect-the-dots.

Why so many turtles? Because every mother of every student Mr. Turtell had ever had thought his name was pronounced “Mr. Turtle” instead of “Mr. Tur-TELL,” and not one student had ever bothered to correct them. And there’s nothing moms of elementary school students like more than giving clever Christmas gifts to their kids’ teachers. Year after year, the turtles piled up until they grew into

a plague. And now it was too late to do anything about it. The turtles had won.

But Micah liked turtles, so he didn’t mind. Although they did make it harder to pay attention in class.

“I hope you all remember that you have a history test tomorrow,” Mr. Turtell said. “It will be on local history, which is of course the best history of all. When it comes to history, the localler, the better.”

Lydia’s hand shot up.

“Don’t say it,” Armin whispered. “Never correct a teacher.”

“But that’s not even a real word!” Lydia whispered back.

Armin glared. Lydia put her hand back down.

“The test will count as a third of your final grade for the semester,” Mr. Turtell went on. “It will cover the history of Middletown from the pre-Colonial muskrat trappers, through the outhouse manufacturing boom of the 1800s, all the way up to the Great Sewage Backup of 2012.”

Akira raised her hand. “Will there be any questions about Mr. Henry, Middletown’s oldest man? I heard he’s a hundred and fifty-two!”

“I don’t think so,” said Mr. Turtell.

“You don’t think he’s a hundred and fifty-two, or you don’t think there’ll be a question about him on the test?”


“Will there be a question about why the town always smells like rotten cantaloupe?” Timothy asked.

“Unlikely,” said Mr. Turtell.

“Will there be any questions about Mayor Kim getting food poisoning from a bad tamale?” Luciana asked.

“Definitely not,” said Mr. Turtell.

“How about an essay on the founding of Pukey Pete’s CoasterTown?” Gabe asked.

“Not a chance,” said Mr. Turtell.

“How about a question about the time the fireworks factory burned down?” Eric asked.

“Absolutely!” said Mr. Turtell. “Best fireworks show ever!”

That evening, Micah told his parents about the big test, and they let him study right after dinner instead of having to load the dishwasher.

Micah looked around his room. It turned out the dishes weren’t the only things that needed cleaning. He’d never be able to focus in this mess, so he figured he’d start with the floor and work his way up from there. He didn’t even recognize half the clothes that were piled on the carpet. Were they somebody else’s, or were they so dirty their original colors couldn’t be determined?

The phone rang. Micah ran to get it.


“Hey, Micah.”

“Hey, Armin.”

“You sure you don’t want to study with me and Lydia?”

“No, I’ll be fine.” He hated studying with Lydia. All she ever did was ask them questions from her

notes, and they never even took breaks for snacks or video games!

“Okay. Good luck!”

“You too. Bye.”

Talking to Armin reminded him that he could probably use a quick video game break after all his room cleaning. It would help him get focused. He put in Captain Karate Dino Cop and started at level 7, right outside the crime den of the Stegosaurus Boys. He needed to get inside to grab evidence against them if he ever wanted to take the whole gang down for good.

After only fourteen attempts to get by the den’s raptor guards, he decided he should probably get back to work. He grabbed his notebook from his backpack, sat down at his desk, and looked out the window to gather his thoughts. It was a beautiful night, with clear skies and gentle breezes. Had that tree always been there? It looked new. And what about that squirrel? Yeah, he was pretty sure he’d never seen that squirrel before. It was probably visiting from out of town.

The setting sun was shining through Micah’s window, so he looked back down at his desk. To his left was the Lego model of the rocket train he’d been working on for three weeks. He was so close to being done with it, except there was one little gray piece missing. He knew if he could just find that last piece—it had probably fallen on his rug and blended in—he could put the model up on his shelf and it wouldn’t distract him anymore.

He got on his hands and knees and brushed his fingers through the plush rug, feeling for anything hard. He found a toothpick, some dried-up Play-Doh, three thumbtacks, the left foot of an action figure, and an uncooked macaroni noodle. No Legos.

He got under his desk and felt around with his hands in the dark. Mostly dust bunnies and spiderwebs. Ouch! Did something bite him? Wait! There was something pointy and plastic in the back corner. Ha! He’d found it! Now he could complete the rocket train! There was no stopping him now! He put the last piece on the side of the engine

and gently placed the train on the top shelf of his bookcase.

At last! He could study in peace. He opened up his notebook.

Huh. When had he made that sketch of a laser blaster? It wasn’t very good. The proportions were way off, and what was that weird contraption on the side supposed to be?

Micah ripped the page out of his notebook, crumpled it up, and threw it at his trash can. He missed. He ripped out another page and crumpled it up too. Another miss.

The garbage can was too far away, all the way back in the farthest corner of his room. Maybe he should stop playing paper wad basketball and switch to paper wad Frisbee golf. Then he could see if he could make the shot in three tosses. But he’d need a smaller hole than a trash can, or it would be too easy.

Luckily, he had an old milkshake cup on his nightstand from the week before last. And it was mostly empty too! He started at the farthest corner from his nightstand and took a shot. So close! It bounced off the rim and landed on the floor. From

there he could make it in only one more shot. That was one less than his goal!

He should probably get back to studying now. Enough of a break. He sat back down at his desk and turned to a page of his notes that didn’t have any drawings on it. Just words. Boring words. He read several of them. A dozen, perhaps. He needed something to make this interesting. But what?

He stood up and paced as he read, so he wouldn’t get sleepy from boredom. He paced faster and faster, until the words were blurry and he couldn’t read them. He needed to go slower but still keep it interesting.

The floor is lava! That’s it! It was a game he used to play with Armin when they were little. They’d pretend the floor was made of burning-hot lava, and if they stepped on it, their feet would melt. So, they could only step on couches and tables and chairs and anything else off the floor. (Obviously, this was not a game you played when parents were around.)

Micah stood up on his bed, with his notebook open. As he read, he walked across his mattress and stepped onto his end table. Then, still staring at his notebook, he headed for his desk. After his desk, he’d have to hold on to the curtain rod as he shimmied across the skinny windowsill. No problem. He just needed to grab the rod with one hand while holding the notebook open with the other.

Easy enough. He used to hold on to the rod and walk the window all the time—when he was younger. And lighter.


Was that the sound of drywall breaking?

Down came the curtain rod, still in Micah’s hand. His foot slipped off the windowsill. Micah nearly lost his balance, but leaned forward, just catching himself against the highest shelf of his bookcase. When it started to tip forward, Micah tried to push it back.

No luck.

He crashed to the floor.

Micah lay there in a daze, staring up at the top

shelf as it collapsed. Down fell his rocket train, followed by a Lego biplane. Each crashed to the ground in a heap of small plastic parts. Then came the next shelf, with his comic books. And last but not least, his video camera and vlog equipment.

On his back, in a pile of his own stuff, he heard his mother walking down the hall.

She opened the door. “Are you all right?”

“I think so.”

“What a mess! You really need to clean up in here!”

“Sorry, Mom. I will.”

Micah sat up and looked around. He started picking stuff off the floor. Yep, he would just clean up his room really quick and then get right back to studying.

Suddenly he felt the strangest sense of déjà vu.


Suddenly, spaceships were shooting lasers at Micah. For some reason he couldn’t remember how he’d gotten into this space war in the first place. And what kind of aliens was he fighting against? Or maybe he was the alien?

His eyes opened and he looked up at the ceiling.

Phew! It was all just a dream. But that means the noise wasn’t lasers—it was his alarm.


How long had it been going off? He looked at the clock. 7:15?!?

He’d planned to get up early and study, since he

never got the chance the night before. His parents had already left for work. If they could see him now! He hadn’t studied and he’d overslept. And now he only had fifteen minutes to get to school!

Oh, well. He’d just have to take a few shortcuts in his “getting ready” routine. Okay. Concentrate. Just the essentials.

First step: put on pants.

Yep. That pretty much covered the essentials.

Showers were skippable. Breakfast was skippable. Toothbrushing was skippable.

He should probably put on a shirt, though. Not as crucial as pants, but still.

He walked down the hall toward the front door, grabbing his backpack. His sister, Audrey, was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at him. “Running late?”


“Good job remembering your pants.”


Micah got to his classroom just as the bell rang.

Armin and Lydia were already in their seats.

“How long did you study?” Lydia asked.


Armin shook his head in disappointment. “You never got around to studying, did you?”


“What were you thinking?” Lydia asked.


“I just don’t get you,” Armin said.


“Can you even use any actual words?” Lydia asked.


Mr. Turtell walked in just then. “Put your books and notebooks away,” he said, “and get out a pen or pencil. You’ll have all class period to take this test, so take your time. It’s time to get historical!”

As the tests were passed down the rows, Micah took a deep breath. It would be fine, right? After all, what was the worst that could happen? He could fail. Big deal. It’s not like he’d have to go back and

repeat the fifth grade—or worse, the fourth grade. They can’t do that, can they? He’d be behind all his friends. On the flip side, at least in fourth grade you got to go to the zoo for your field trip instead of the ballet. And maybe he’d get to make another one of those popsicle stick log cabins. That was fun.

But even a popsicle stick log cabin wasn’t worth having to make all new friends and having a permanent blemish on his record. He’d better do well on this test. He just hoped he could remember some things from his teacher’s lectures.

Not likely. So many distractions. So many turtles.

Micah looked through the questions. Nuts. It was all essays. At least with multiple choice and true-false questions, you could get lucky and guess your way to a few right answers. With essays you had to bluff it. Micah was not typically good at making stuff up.

Question 1: Describe the origins of the city of Middletown. Okay, Micah thought to himself. Just ask yourself who, what, when, and why questions.Who founded it? What used to be there? When did they found it? Why did people move there?

Micah stared up at the ceiling to think. It took him several minutes to collect himself but, for better or worse, thoughts started coming to him.

Question 2: What role did Middletown play in the Civil War?

Once again Micah had to pause to think. What did he know about the Civil War, anyway? Not much. But based on the name, it sounded like one of the nicer wars. His mom always told Audrey, “Be civil to your brother,” which basically meant be polite and stop saying so many nasty things.


On Sale
Jun 4, 2019
Page Count
224 pages
JellyTelly Press

Andy McGuire

About the Author

Andy McGuire has written and illustrated four children’s books, including Remy the Rhino and Rainy Day Games. He has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and an M.A. in Literature from Ohio University. Andy’s writing heroes have always been the ones who make him laugh, from Roald Dahl and Louis Sachar to P.G. Wodehouse and William Goldman. Andy lives with his wife and three children in Burnsville, MN.

Girish Manuel is the creator of the Micah’s Super Vlog video series and a producer at Square One World Media. He lives in a little place called Winnipeg, Canada with his lovely wife, Nikki, and furry cat, Paska. Girish enjoys running and drawing… but not at the same time. That would be hard. He tried it once and got ink all over his shoes.

Learn more about this author