Arthur's Teacher Trouble

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Arthur's Teacher Trouble
Author Marc Brown
Country United States
Language English
Series Arthur
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 30
ISBN 978-0-87113-091-4
OCLC 13185290
Preceded by Arthur's Tooth
Followed by Arthur's Baby

Arthur's Teacher Trouble is a book in the Arthur series, released in 1986.[1] It was written by Marc Brown and published by Atlantic Monthly Press.[2]


Arthur's class has a new teacher for the first day of school called Mr Ratburn. He appears very strict and the students have different opinions about him; Prunella who had him the previous year warns Arthur and his friends that something terrible will happen to them, Binky thinks Mr Ratburn will send any misbehaving students to death row, and Chris believes that the teacher is a vampire with magical powers.

Before they leave to go home the principal shows them a big trophy and reminds them about a spellathon which they are all enthusiastic about.

At home Arthur refuses cookies for dinner as he is too busy with homework so his younger sister D.W. has one. Arthur does use cookie dough to make a map of Africa but not very successfully.

The next day Mr Ratburn announces a spelling test for the end of the week with the two highest scoring students going on to represent the class at the spellathon causing Arthur and his friends to study hard for the remainder of the week. Some also try other things like a good luck charm and reading a book on spelling tips. Arthur's family assists him and he doesn't have time for play. Arthur and Brain are the ones who get the highest scores in the test and go on to compete in the spellathon.

At the spellathon Brain is knocked out early then all the other students leave the competition until only Arthur and Prunella (last year's winner) is left. Prunella misspells the word preparation while Arthur is successful so wins the spellathon.

The story ends with Mr Ratburn congratulating Arthur and his class and announcing that he will next be teaching kindergarton much to the consternation of D.W.


Computer game[edit]

Box cover of the computer game

The book was adapted into a computer game by Living Books in 1993,[3] and later turned into an app in 2012.[4] It is the first of five Arthur books to be adapted into a computer game, and the second game released from the Living Books series.[5][6] Unlike the television series, which separated the original book into two mini-episodes, the game keeps the story as one.

Television episodes[edit]

The title was also adapted into two television episodes in the Arthur TV Series. They were titled as "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn" and "Arthur's Spelling Trubble." The episodes aired together, on September 9, 1996. VHS releases of "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn" change the title card to "Arthur's Teacher Trouble" to reference the original book.


Initial critical reception for the book was mostly positive, with the Living Books adaptation being particularly praised.[3][7][8][9] Later critical reviews expressed concern over the media effects of the book, with David Wray stating in Literacy: Major Themes in Education that much of the effects were "incongruent to the story".[10] Matt Jackson of the Children's Literature Association commented that the Living Book software's features gave off the impression that "passivity is bad" questioned the product's packaging phrasing of "Children don't just read them. They live them.", in that it inferred that books were inferior to CD-Roms.[11]

Jackson also criticized the book's usage of stereotypes, such as Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn being a "stereotypical male teacher—a mean disciplinarian, a student's worst fear".[11] Ann Trousdale also criticized the stereotyping of Ratburn, writing that he "dominates and oppresses his students" and almost a caricature.[12]


  1. ^ Children's Literature Association Quarterly. 1996. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Brown, Kathleen J. (December 1999). "What Kind of Text: For Whom and When? Textual Scaffolding for Beginning Readers". The Reading Teacher 53 (4): 292–307. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Forging Ahead or Fit to be Smashed?". Computer Gaming World. April 1993. p. 24. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Living Books Series Returns as Storybook Apps". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Smith, Geoff. "`Arthur's Teacher' entertains kids". Boston Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Trying Out Digital Storybooks With a 4-Year-Old, Part 3: Arthur Reads Series". Wired. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Horn Book Magazine Volume LXXIII: January–December 1997, p 224". Horn Book. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Oldenburg, Don. "Computers; Plugging In For a Fun Read". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "SCHOOL KIDS CAN RELATE TO THE BELLS AND BOOKS IN `TEACHER TROUBLE'". Deseret News. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Wray, David (2004). Literacy: Major Themes in Education, Volume 4. Routledge. pp. 147–150. ISBN 0415277124. 
  11. ^ a b Jackson, Matt (Spring 1997). "The Troubling Lessons of Arthur's Teacher Trouble: Old Stereotypes in a New Commodity". Children's Literature Association Quarterly 22 (1): 30–36. doi:10.1353/chq.0.1194. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Trousdale, Ann (Spring 1992). "Why Is This Teacher Smiling? Portrayals of Teachers in Picture Books for Young Children". Feminist Teacher 6 (3): 25–31.