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Arthur's Teacher Trouble
Author Marc Brown
Illustrator Marc Brown
Publication date July 31, 1986
Published by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 9780440840381
Publication Order
Preceded by
Arthur's Tooth (1985)
Followed by
Arthur and the Baby (1987)

Arthur's Teacher Trouble is the eleventh book in the Arthur Adventure series. It was written and illustrated by Marc Brown and first published in 1986 by Little, Brown and Company. It was later adapted into episode 2 of season 1 of the TV series in two parts: "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn" and "Arthur's Spelling Trubble".


When the bell rang, it was the end of the first day of school. All of the students ran out of every classroom, except for Room 13. Mr. Ratburn's third grade class filed out of the classroom in alphabetical order. Mr. Ratburn said that he will see his class tomorrow. Arthur Read, Buster Baxter, Francine Frensky, Muffy Crosswire, the Brain, Binky Barnes, and some others were Mr. Ratburn's students. In the hallway, they run into Prunella Deegan, a 4th-grader who had Mr. Ratburn as her teacher when she was in 3rd-grade, who fears something terrible might happen to them. Binky claims that one wrong move would cause Mr. Ratburn to put the students on death row, and another boy named Chris claims that Mr. Ratburn is a vampire with magical powers.

While everyone is leaving, the principal, Mr. Haney, is asking the students if they are ready for the September spellathon, and everyone cheers "Yes!". Then Mr. Haney asks who is going to win, and the students all say that they're all going to win. Prunella then asks that if she wins again, she might get her name on the trophy twice.

When Arthur comes home from school, he tells his mother, Jane, that he has the strictest teacher in the whole world, Mr. Ratburn. Jane suggests that Arthur could have a chocolate chip cookie, but he responds that he doesn't have time for a cookie and that he has a lot of homework to do. His sister, D.W., decides to eat a cookie, and says that she doesn't have homework, but he tells her she doesn't go to school.

After dinner, Arthur is still working on his homework. While Arthur is doing a project made out of cookie dough, D.W. asks him what it is, and he responds that it is a map of Africa. D.W. suggests that it looks like pepperoni pizza. Then she tells Arthur that the next year when she goes into kindergarten, she won't have any homework, because a new possible teacher doesn't give homework. Arthur then calls Jane that D.W. is being a pest, but she responds by telling Arthur that it's time for bed and that he can finish the map of Africa in the morning, which she mistakenly calls "Florida", and then Arthur corrects her mistake.

The next school day, Mr. Ratburn was announcing a spelling test for Friday. He tells the class to study hard, because the test will have 100 words. He then tells the students that the two of them with the highest scores will represent the class at the all-school spellathon. During the week, Arthur and his friends were studying harder than ever, and Arthur was searching for quiet places to study.

On Friday, Mr. Ratburn's class had a spelling test. Arthur could smell the popcorn coming from Miss Sweetwater's class, and he could hear Mrs. Fink's class leaving for a field trip to the aquarium. Arthur then whispers to Francine about why they were stuck with Mr. Ratburn. At the end of the spelling test, Mr. Ratburn corrected the students' papers, and points out that most of the students did well on the test, but only two of them spelled every word correctly. The selected class representatives were Arthur and the Brain, but Muffy suggests that there is a mistake. Then Mr. Ratburn gives Arthur and the Brain a complete list of words and makes them both promise to study and be ready for the spellathon that is in two weeks.

Arthur's family is helping him study, then his Grandma Thora asks Arthur his spelling words, and his parents David and Jane ask him what to do by spelling them. When Francine and Buster came over, D.W. answere the door and tells them that Arthur can't play, because he has to study.

When the spellathon comes by, Arthur's family wishes him good luck. On the stage behind the curtains, Mr. Ratburn asks how Arthur and the Brain feel. The Brain replies that he feels fine, but Arthur is nervous and wishes he were still back in bed. Then Mr. Haney welcomes everyone and explains the rules in spelling. The Brain was the first person to have a turn, and he stepped up to the microphone. The first word was "fear", and the Brain quickly misspelled it as F-E-R-E and then Mr. Haney dismissed him, and the Brain felt disbelief and asked Mr. Haney whether or not he's using the right dictionary. However, many of the representatives from Miss Sweetwater's and Mrs. Fink's classes were quickly dismissed. The remaining representatives were Prunella and Arthur. During Prunella's turn, the word was "preparation", then she asked for the definition and Mr. Haney explained that the word means "the process of getting ready". Then Prunella began to spell the word starting with P-R-E-P, then pauses for a few seconds before finishing by spelling it E-R-A-T-I-O-N, and gets dismissed; thus Arthur becomes the only one left in the spellathon. He spells the word "preparation" as P-R-E-P-A-R-A-T-I-O-N, which is the correct spelling.

Then Mr. Ratburn steps up to the microphone and tells everyone that he is very proud of Arthur and the whole class. He then explains that it will be the last third grade he will have for the spellathon, and then decides his new challenge will be teaching kindergarten; this worries D.W., as she thinks she might get too much homework to do at her age if she gets sorted into his class.


  • The cover depicts the last time Arthur had a long nose, though the interior illustrations show Arthur in his familiar modern form with his short nose.
  • According to Marc Brown, he wrote the book because it came out of memories that he had being in third grade. His real life teacher had a lot of strict rules in his class. Also, when he did the illustration for the kitchen page, he sat in his kitchen and drew what he saw. And when he drew the illustration for the page in Arthur's bedroom, he sat in his son Tucker's bedroom and drew what he saw.


  • This book is the first appearance of Prunella.
  • In the story's conclusion, Mr. Ratburn says he will teach kindergarten the following year, but that idea was dropped in later Arthur adaptations.
  • It is likely that the events of Arthur and the True Francine occur within the events of this book.[citation needed] However, the TV  adaptation of Arthur and the True Francine takes place during Arthur's second grade year, and is a prequel to episode 2, where the two segments are based on this book.
  • A boy named Chris, one of the fourth graders introduced in this book, never appeared again in the later books or made it onto the television series.
  • The book is also translated in other languages, including Spanish, under the name "Arturo y sus problemas con el profesor".
  • On the back of the book at the beginning of the random letters, it will spell "RATBURN."
  • Arthur's project on a map of Africa likely references the fact that his family's species being aardvarks are native to that continent in the real world.
    Arturo y sus problemas con el profesor


  • Arthur's Teacher Trouble was adapted into a Living Books computer game by Brøderbund for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh in 1993. However, it was re-released a number of times to become compatible with the later operating systems such as Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9, and etc. Many of these games also included a book in the packaging. However, in the game, there were many color tone restrictions where many of the characters had their complexions restricted between pale and tan. However, some pages were based on more than just one page, and some of the text was omitted, modified, or only heard during a following of sequences. There were many things that could be clicked on and performed that never happened in the book. Also, on the page where Arthur is doing a project of Africa out of cookie dough, he is wearing blue pajamas like the later books where he was wearing white and blue striped pajamas, although his pajamas were previously yellow and red striped. The publisher, Brøderbund, was acquired by The Learning Company in 2003, which set for a discontinuation of the Living Books series.
  • This book became adapted into episode 2 of season 1 of the TV series in two parts, Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn and Arthur's Spelling Trubble. However, in the home video versions of Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn, it was titled as Arthur's Teacher Trouble (not to be confused with the book with the similar storyline).


  • Despite the story saying Mr. Ratburn's class filed out slowly in alphabetical order, the Brain and Buster were behind Francine, and Arthur was ahead of Alan (the Brain). This goof is likely due to the fact that Arthur is the titular character in the series.
  • When Arthur came home on the first day of school, he was writing with his left hand; but on the later pages, he was writing with his right hand.