Jon, age 7, is on Pluto, a massive 7.5 billion kilometres from Earth (and also 7.5 billion kilometres from his teacher). When the President of Pluto gets married and goes on honeymoon for a month, Jon’s teacher, Mrs Hall, is made temporary President, and she doesn’t really know how to run a planet. With the introduction of lots of new rules and homework for everybody, will things go to plan?
The premise of the story is that Mrs Hall takes over running the planet and introduces so many new rules and homework that people have no time for other work. This sees things going wrong such as a giant snargler (swamp monster) on the loose.
Overall, Teachers on Pluto is a children’s book that I really enjoyed. While it is not a story in the traditional sense with chapters and formal structure, it is told in the form of letters, postcards and newspaper clippings which is quite unusual and interesting. Each page is different in layout and style and is an excellent way of keeping a young readers attention. Jon and his mum write letters to each other, while his gran communicates with him via postcards. There are also public announcements in the form of posters and newspaper announcements and even a report from the class robot.
Another plus is that there are plenty of “nonsense” words such as snargler, vomblefruit, Flumpenslurp Burble, skwitches and more that will help children put their phonics comprehension to work.
The story is easy to follow, easy to read and humorous – especially the exchanges between Jon and his adrenaline junkie gran (pod racing, sky diving, parachuting etc.)!
Teachers on Pluto is definitely a book younger readers will enjoy, and would be good for reluctant readers as the format is quite unusual and unique and not overwhelming.
A fun and engaging story with a silliness that children will love.
RRP: £6.99 (paperback)