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My Teacher Flunked the Planet (My Teacher Books) Paperback – July 1, 2005
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In short, this is not the book to read if you're looking for a nice, cheerful book. In fact, it shouldn't be read at all without first reading the first three books in the series, which start out much simpler, and eventually build up to this one. However, it's still a great book, it's just that you'll be halfway through it and you'll say out loud "Geez, the human race sucks!"
But I think it's "kid safe." As a child I saw Return to Oz and had horrid nightmares; by the age of 10 I read a short horror story for adults where I find out that the man telling the story is insane and his family is dead and I broke out in tears. Yet as sensitive as I was, this book did not cause a severe reaction, but pulled me in with its shocking surprises, both hopeful and horrid. Bruce Coville has done a truly amazing job at making the horrors of the world accessible to kids (though probably not younger than 10) without being either traumatizing or patronizing about it, though he did (thankfully) gloss over some of the worse parts. (Example: "What had already been done to those people was so ugly I cannot bring myself to describe it, even though the memory of it remains like a scar burned into my brain with a hot iron.")
Furthermore, I would add that this is not a book promoting any ideology. This doesn't encourage your children to grow up and vote Democrat or Republican, or embrace socialism or libertarianism. This is a book promoting VALUES. And contrary to the propaganda of many ideologues and Party Pushers, values and ideology are two completely different things.
All ideologies, to my knowledge, explain the ways that they think are best for solving the problems Coville brings up. But values determine what gets done; ideology detemines how it gets done. A revolution that changes ideology but not values will only change the HOW things get done, not WHAT gets done.Read more ›
The political views Coville relates thru this story can be a little challenging for the young audience that the book is intended for. I by no means think that this is a bad thing however. The somewhat negative view expressed that humans are a dangerous species can only make us look at ourselves and strive for improvement. A quality I feel anybody can benefit from.
I have a lot of fun memories reading all 4 books in this series. When I was in middle school I would often spend my rainy weekends in my room reading this series over and over again. Each book has its own unique charm, this last one for example is by far the most serious of the series, which provided an excellent ending and pushed an important message for humanity.
Darien Summers, author of The Mischievous Hare, a children's book. The Mischievous Hare
He then chose it for a book report and project, so I learned a bit about it. I am surprised that this has a REALLY good message!
It entertains kids, but teaches them about taking care of each other and of our planet. What a pleasant surprise.
I read this novel in high school, and I remember being very fired up about it. I think many young adults respond well to the notion that the world is corrupt. For myself, there was something romantic about being the "voice in the wilderness" that appealed to my teenage angst. It's only in the last few years that I've come to understand how simplistic the author's views really are.
Coville seems to suggest that all the world's problems exist because humans are "dumb," and that if we were smarter we'd naturally be more empathetic and altruistic. He insinuates that a smart person will naturally know right from wrong, and that only irrational or unintelligent people make poor choices. In reality, making a bully smarter wouldn't make him see the error of his ways; it'd just make him a more dangerous bully.
The hypocrisy of the aliens in this novel really bothers me. They're proposing to punish us hypothetical crimes we haven't even committed yet, using the same violent tactics they claim to deplore. Coville has unrealistic expectations for humanity. The aliens say that we are irredeemable, pointing to famine and war as the proof. That many Earthlings deplore famine, and work to alleviate it, isn't important. Because we're not perfect, the whole species is guilty and must be wiped out.
The problem with the "My Teacher" novels is that they don't give allowances for the complexity of the real world, and they collapse moral arguments down into a simplistic conflict between the "smart" and the "dumb." Readers should appreciate Coville's satire for what it is, and understand that the real world is more nuanced than the books suggest.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this for my 10yr old son to read during summer break. He's already read one of the series and waiting on the last one and he loves these booksPublished 1 month ago by Latonya
i remember reading all these books when i was a kid and now i get to read them to my kidsPublished on January 2, 2013 by Jason Ferrell
Everything was fine here. I read these books when I was young and am glad to now pass on the tradition to my own.Published on November 24, 2012 by Aaron Burgemeister
very nice edition to the My Teacher is an Alien saga. This one, as well as all of Bruce's books come highly recommended.Published on May 27, 2011 by Danny P
We love this author and all of his books in this series. Very easy reads and keep kids interested.Published on February 2, 2010 by Brenda
My daughters loved it. laughed out loud, AND they get credit for it as an AR book at school! Fantastic!Published on March 15, 2007 by Rose M. Phillips