Friday, February 2, 2024

My Teacher Flunked the Planet (My Teacher is an Alien: Book #4) by Bruce Coville (author, narrator), Rueby Wood (narrator), Full Cast Audio crew (narrators)

Full Cast Audio, ISBN 9781955324052, January 2023 (original publication June 1992)

Seventh-grader Peter Thompson and his friends, Susan Simpson and Duncan Dougal, have had some pretty startling experiences over the past year. For instance, several of their teachers have turned out to be aliens, on Earth to investigate our species and our culture. Along the way, they've experienced some pretty weird effects of the aliens' technology first-hand. Now they've been kidnapped by the aliens, and learned where all this has been headed.

The alien are trying to decide whether it's safe to let humans continue to advance our technology and emerge into the galaxy, or whether it would be the safer and wiser choice, given how violent we are even towards each other, to destroy us now before we can do any damage outside our own system. The consensus is tilting pretty heavily toward "wipe them out now."

Peter, Susan, and Duncan, plus three aliens in disguise who have been their teachers, are assigned the task of doing a last in-depth survey of Earth and, if possible, making the case to the galactic council that Earth should be spared. As they travel to some of Earth's worst hotspots of war, poverty, famine, and disease, they see horrors that it's several times observed really shouldn't be seen by children.

One of their discoveries is that, for all their non-interference stance, at least one alien has meddled in Earth's development in a way that had major consequences.

But they are children old enough to understand the issues involved, while still young enough, unlike adults to be open to seeing that things can be different. And at each of these terrible sites, they also see people trying to make things better.

They also each individually have experiences that shake up their understanding not only of their world, but of their own understanding of their individual lives.

The question is, can they both believe in their own world's capacity to grow, and make a convincing case to the galactic council that it should be allowed to?

It's an exciting, fun, enlightening story, well-performed by the Full Cast Audio narrators.

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