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Can of Worms (An Avon Camelot Book) by Kathy…
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Can of Worms (An Avon Camelot Book) (1999)

by Kathy Mackel

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This science fiction book is about a boy named Mike Pillsbury who is obsessed with his stories of the galaxy. He believes in them so much so he asks the fellow citizens of the universe to rescue him from his planet. After the message is sent, it attracts a crew of aliens wanting to rescue him. Mike however is not so sure he wants to be rescued after all. Will the aliens let Mike stay or take him back to help their own needs?
I think this book is a very creative boy’s imagination. I can see many boys and girls interested in a silly sci-fi novel enjoying this book.
I would use this book with third through fifth grade students. I would use this book in comparison to a more serious sci-fi novel. I would compare this one with some of the Star Wars books. I would have the students do Venn diagrams to compare the two. I would have them then write a short sci-fi novel with elements from both books. ( )
  megjwal | Oct 25, 2010 |
Mike Pillsbury has always felt like an alien from another planet. When life on Earth becomes too much, he sends out an intergalactic call for help. To his mild surprise several interesting creatures come to his rescue. ( )
  MrsBond | Dec 19, 2008 |
Anthony Gonzales
EDCI 4120

Mackel, K. (1999). Can of Worms. New York: Avon.

Grade Levels: 7-8
Category: Science Fiction
Read-Alouds: pp. 1-16 (Introduction), 48-56 (Mike helps plan the dance), 62-69 (Appearance of the Bom), 83-88 (Katelyn and Mike start dating), 89-112 (Introduction of Lord Blade), 127-146 (Conclusion)

Summary: Mike was an outcast; he was a smart kid who believed that he was not from planet earth. He had stories that he would tell the younger children that he though were real. He thought that he lived in a utopia planet that was similar to earth without the crime or hatred. He played on the football team for his father and hated it. Because he was so intelligent, he sent out a message to space for someone to save him. His message was received when the girl that he liked, Katelyn, mentioned that she liked him and wanted to be more than friends with him. Then more aliens began to show up and try and take him off the planet. Things began to get really bad when a Jong by the name of Lord Blade came to take Mike When Blade saw Katelyn, he wanted her instead, and Will fought Blade with the other aliens. They defeated Blade in the end and made an amazing Halloween parade with all the aliens in the end.

Themes: This novel had a great theme about friendship. Mike was a nerd kid who was great with his book smarts but was horrible in his social life. A teacher could use the character of Katelyn as a role model for other students because she was nice to Mike when everybody else was picking on him or making fun of him. She saw past the nerd and gave him a chance for who he is. Also friendship is another theme present in this novel. Friendship and teamwork is what helped the kids defeat the antagonist, Lord Blade.

Discussion Questions:
Why did Mike have such a hard time getting along with people?
What is the significance of Katelyn and what did she represent in the novel?
What made Mike change his mind about staying on Earth?

Reader Response: This was a very interesting novel to read. There was a lot of action going on and the alien experience kept my attention. I can relate to the character of Mike slightly. I was never the smartest kid in the seventh grade, let alone in any of my grades, but I was the one who had a hard time getting through school. I know what it is like to like a girl and for her to turn you down, or give the “lets just be friends” speech. I like the character of Will because he never gave up. He stuck with football because he did not want to disappoint his father. His intelligence also made his character more admirable because intelligence can get people places in life. ( )
  agonzal3 | Aug 3, 2008 |
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To Todd, Sean, and Nicole.
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I was only two years old when the Jongs caught up to us.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380800500, Paperback)

Fellow citizens of the galaxy: I do not belong on this planet. I am being held against my will, trapped by ignorance and cruelty. You must save me. Take me away from this. I am desperately in need of your assistance. Please help me. Mike Pillsbury.

When a frustrated plea to the universe attracts a motley crew of aliens determined to rescue him, Mike Pillsbury decides he isn't quite ready to relinquish life on Earth. Will his visitors, who all have something at stake, let him stay?

00-01 Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Masterlist (Gr. 6-8) and 00-01 Young Reader's Choice Award Program Masterlist

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Bullied and unhappy at school, thirteen-year-old Mike, who has always thought that he might be an alien, sends a distress call into space asking to be rescued from the ignorance and cruelty of his life on Earth.

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