Moontrug’s primary school years were dominated by two things: unicorns and forming clubs with complicated passwords. BULC (‘club’ backwards) was the most memorable club. Details below:
Members (from left to right): Abi (Moontrug), Lucy, Georgie, Eleanor (the Angus girls)
Meeting Place: the girls’ loos
Password: so complicated Moontrug has forgotten it
Secret handshake: involved a starjump
Day-to-day activities: building dens, investigating our teachers, making potions
Just when Moontrug thought she’d try to be a bit more grown up (host dinner-parties instead of den-making sessions and make Jamie Oliver meals instead of brewing potions), she stumbled across a hilarious book which brought BULC memories flooding back… Pamela Butchart’s Baby Aliens Got My Teacher.
Izzy and her friends are really surprised when Miss Jones starts being nice to them. After all, this is the teacher who secretly smiled when Maisie Miller fell off her chair that time. And then a teddy bear appears on her desk with ‘You’re Great’ written on its tummy. Miss Jones isn’t a teddy bear kind of person. She’s more of a hates-puppies-and-thinks-kittens-are-ugly kind of person. And that’s when they know – Miss Jones has been taken over by aliens. And now she’s trying to turn them all into aliens, too. RUN!!!
Izzy’s narration is brilliantly funny and perfectly captures the wild imaginings of 7/8 year-olds. By page 2, Butchart already had me in giggles. Izzy finds a crisp that looks exactly like her neighbour Mrs Cunningham: ‘I obviously did NOT eat it. I put it in an envelope and carefully posted it through Mrs Cunningham’s letter box. Because that’s what I would want someone to do if they found a crisp shaped exactly like me (also called a crisp twin.’) Izzy’s humour is SO SO well done – and you feel yourself carried away with her hilarious interpretations of events. Her friends are equally great (pea-phobic Zach, mega-tantrum Jodie and faint-a-lot Maisie) – and Moontrug would have LOVED to have been in their gang…
Jodie’s thoughts on why Miss Jones might be acting strangely are the kind of things Moontrug would have come up with: ‘So me and Jodie sat together and tried to find out why Miss Jones was being so weird. Jodie said that one time her aunty started doing lots of weird things, like saying: “Good morning, Jeffrey!” to an orange and pouring milk on her violin. The doctor had said that is was STRESS.’ And Izzy’s excitement about attending a ‘meeting’ outside the den is awesome: ‘I didn’t know what to bring so I just brought a bag of crisps, four biscuits from the cupboard, my good pens and Dad’s torch.’ Essential meeting equipment – Moontrug would have also added: one balaclava (in case robberies were intended).
Butchart’s humour is partly due to the fantastic absurdities in her plot (aliens, teddies, classroom meditation) but also because she captures exactly the way children think and speak. Check out possibly the BEST late-for-school excuse ever from Izzy: ‘So I told her about the terrapin… but I couldn’t tell her about the other [late] because it was Dad’s fault and he had said not to tell Mum. So I said that the other one was a terrapin too and then she sent me to my room.’ Similarly, Zach’s melodramatic goodbye text to his mother as the alien invasion reaches its peak, is priceless: ‘I love you Mum. Goodbye. P.S. I’m sorry I didn’t change the cat litter.’ Baby Aliens Got My Teacher is a laugh-out-loud book for 6-8-year-olds, full of imaginative twists, boundless energy and lots of rule-breaking. So to celebrate its alien wonderfulness, Moontrug is offering up a copy of Pamela Butchart’s latest book, The Spy Who Loved School Dinners, to the person who can draw an extraordinary alien and write a few sentences about it. Entries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org before September 1st.