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My Teacher Flunked the Planet (My Teacher Books) Paperback – July 1, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Peter Thompson, a typical seventh-grader, finds himself touring the planet with his friends Susan Simmons and Duncan Dougal, and three aliens in disguise! Their mission? To file the final report that will determine Earth's future in the universe. As the clock ticks away the hours before their meeting in space, the tour becomes weirder and weirder. The three friends come face to face with a plague of poots and "Big Julie" - the weirdest alien yet! Meanwhile, Peter discovers a secret hidden for decades. Will his discovery save the Earth, or is it already too late to stop the aliens from destroying the planet? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bruce Coville has published more than one hundred books, which have sold more than sixteen million copies. Among his most popular titles are My Teacher Is an Alien, Into the Land of the Unicorns, and The Monster’s Ring. Bruce also founded Full Cast Audio, a company that creates recordings of the best in children’s and young adult literature. He lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, Katherine.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750 (What's this?)
  • Series: My Teacher Books (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reissue edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416903313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416903314
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have all four books in the My Teacher Is An Alien series, and all of them are great, but this climactic conclusion to the series is the most deep, touching, and downright SCARY of the series. In it, the aliens take down the three kids on an expedition to Earth to check out what should be done about the planet, which is the only planet EVER to be smart enough to achieve space travel, but dumb enough to have wars. Some of the places where they go chilled me to the bone, learning more about the evils of human nature.

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!"
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Format: Paperback
This was an incredible ending to a fun series that was started with My Teacher is an Alien. While it remained fun, it was also much more intense, like ice water suddenly dumped on you unexpectedly.

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.
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Format: Paperback
In the final book of the, My Teacher is an Alien, series Susan, Duncan and Peter (the respective main characters of the previous 3 books) come together in an attempt to stop the aliens from destroying Earth.

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
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son received 1-3 as a gift, and asked for this to complete the series.
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.
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"My Teacher Flunked the Planet" is a YA SF novel by Bruce Coville. The plot is basically an extended version of the old Star Trek TNG episode, "Encounter at Farpoint," with an advanced coalition of aliens putting the human race on trial for the right to exist.

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.
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