The Book That Saved The Earth By Claire Boiko

SCENE I

TIME : The twenty-fifth century

PLACE : The Museum of Ancient History: Department of the Twentieth Century on the Planet Earth.

BEFORE RISE : Spotlight shines on Historian, who is sitting at a table down right, on which is a movie projector. A sign on an easel beside her reads: Museum of Ancient History: Department of the Twentieth Century. She stands and bows to audience.

HISTORIAN : Good afternoon. Welcome to our Museum of Ancient History, and to my department — curiosities of the good old, far-off twentieth century. The twentieth century was often called the Era of the Book. In those days, there were books about everything, from anteaters to Zulus. Books taught people how to, and when to, and where to, and why to. They illustrated, educated, punctuated, and even decorated. 

But the strangest thing a book ever did was to save the Earth. You haven’t heard about the Martian invasion of 2040? Tsk, tsk. What do they teach children nowadays? Well, you know, the invasion never really happened, because a single book stopped it. What was the book, you ask? A noble encyclopedia? A tome about rockets and missiles? A secret file from outer space? No, it was none of those. It was — but here, let me turn on the historiscope and show you what happened many centuries ago, in 2040. (She turns on projector, and points it left. Spotlight on Historian goes out, and comes up down left on Think-Tank, who is seated on a raised box, arms folded. He has a huge, egg-shaped head, and he wears a long robe decorated with stars and circles. Apprentice Noodle stands beside him at an elaborate switchboard. A sign on an easel reads:

MARS SPACE CONTROL GREAT AND MIGHTY THINK-TANK, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (Bow low before entering).

NOODLE : (bowing) O Great and Mighty Think-Tank, most powerful and intelligent creature in the whole universe, what are your orders?

THINK-TANK : (peevishly) You left out part of my salutation, Apprentice Noodle. Go over the whole thing again.

NOODLE : It shall be done, sir. (in a singsong) O Great and Mighty Think-Tank, Ruler of Mars and her two moons, most powerful and intelligent creature in the whole universe — (out of breath) what-are-your-orders?

THINK-TANK : That’s better, Noodle. I wish to be placed in communication with our manned space probe to that ridiculous little planet we are going to put under our generous rulership. What do they call it, again?

NOODLE : Earth, your Intelligence.

THINK-TANK : Earth — of course. You see how insignificant the place is? But first, something important. My mirror. I wish to consult my mirror.

NOODLE : It shall be done, sir. (He hands Think-Tank a mirror.)

THINK-TANK : Mirror, mirror, in my hand. Who is the most fantastically intellectually gifted being in the land?

OFFSTAGE VOICE : (after a pause) You, sir.

THINK-TANK : (smacking mirror) Quicker. Answer quicker next time. I hate a slow mirror. (He admires himself in the mirror.) Ah, there I am. Are we Martians not a handsome race? So much more attractive than those ugly Earthlings with their tiny heads. Noodle, you keep on exercising your mind, and someday you’ll have a balloon brain just like mine.

NOODLE : Oh, I hope so, Mighty Think-Tank. I hope so.

THINK-TANK : Now, contact the space probe. I want to invade that primitive ball of mud called Earth before lunch.

NOODLE : It shall be done, sir. (He adjusts levers on switchboard. Electronic buzzes and beeps are heard as the curtains open.)

SCENE  2

TIME : A few seconds later

PLACE : Mars Space Control and the Centerville Public Library

AT RISE : Captain Omega stands at centre, opening and closing card catalogue drawers in a confused fashion. Lieutenant Iota is up left, counting books in a bookcase. Sergeant Oop is at right, opening and closing a book, turning it upside down, shaking it and then riffling the pages and shaking his head.

NOODLE : (adjusting knobs) I have a close sighting of the space crew, sir. (Think-Tank puts on a pair of enormous goggles and turns towards the stage to watch.) They seem to have entered some sort of Earth structure.

THINK-TANK : Excellent. Make voice contact.

NOODLE : (speaking into a microphone) Mars Space Control calling the crew of Probe One. Mars Space Control calling the crew of Probe One. Come in, Captain Omega, and give us your location.

OMEGA : (speaking into a disk which is on a chain around her neck) Captain Omega to Mars Space Control. Lieutenant Iota, Sergeant Oop, and I have arrived on Earth without incident. We have taken shelter in this (indicates room) — this square place. Have you any idea where we are, Lieutenant Iota?

IOTA : I can’t figure it out, Captain. (holding up a book) I’ve counted two thousand of these peculiar items. This place must be some sort of storage barn. What do you think, Sergeant Oop?

OOP : I haven’t a clue. I’ve been to seven galaxies, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Maybe they’re hats. (He opens a book and puts it on his head.) Say, maybe this is a haberdashery!

OMEGA : (bowing low) Perhaps the Great and Mighty ThinkTank will give us the benefit of his thought on the matter.

THINK-TANK : Elementary, my dear Omega. Hold one of the items up so that I may view it closely. (Omega holds a book on the palm of her hand.) Yes, yes, I understand now. Since Earth creatures are always eating, the place in which you find yourselves is undoubtedly a crude refreshment stand.

OMEGA : (to Iota and Oop) He says we’re in a refreshment stand.

OOP : Well, the Earthlings certainly have a strange diet.

THINK-TANK : That item in your hand is called a sandwich.

OMEGA : (nodding) A sandwich.

IOTA : (nodding) A sandwich.

OOP : (taking book from his head) A sandwich?

THINK-TANK : Sandwiches are the main staple of Earth diet. Look at it closely.(Omega squints at book.) There are two slices of what is called bread, and between them is some sort of filling.

OMEGA : That is correct, sir.

THINK-TANK : To confirm my opinion, I order you to eat it.

OMEGA : (gulping) Eat it?

HINK-TANK : Do you doubt the Mighty Think-Tank?

OMEGA : Oh, no, no. But poor Lieutenant Iota has not had her breakfast. Lieutenant Iota, I order you to eat this — this sandwich.

IOTA : (dubiously) Eat it? Oh, Captain! It’s a very great honour to be the first Martian to eat a sandwich, I’m sure, but — but how can I be so impolite as to eat before my Sergeant? (handing Oop the book and saying brightly) Sergeant Oop, I order you to eat the sandwich immediately.

OOP : (making a face) Who, Lieutenant? Me, Lieutenant?

IOTA and OMEGA : (saluting) For the glory of Mars, Oop!

OOP : Yes, of course! (unhappily) Immediately. (He opens his mouth wide. Omega and Iota watch him breathlessly. He bites down on a corner of the book, and pantomimes chewing and swallowing, while making terrible faces.)

OMEGA : Well, Oop?

IOTA : Well, Oop? (Oop coughs. Omega and Iota pound him on the back.)

THINK-TANK : Was it not delicious, Sergeant Oop?

OOP : (saluting) That is correct, sir. It was not delicious. I don’t know how the Earthlings can get those sandwiches down without water. They’re dry as Martian dust.

NOODLE : Sir, sir. Great and Mighty Think-Tank. I beg your pardon, but an insignificant bit of data floated into my mind about those sandwiches.

THINK-TANK : It can’t be worth much, but go ahead. Give us your trifling bit of data.

NOODLE : Well, sir, I have seen surveyor films of those sandwiches. I noticed that the Earthlings did not eat them. They used them as some sort of communication device.

THINK-TANK : (haughtily) Naturally. That was my next point. These are actually communication sandwiches. Think-Tank is never wrong. Who is never wrong?

ALL : (saluting) Great and Mighty Think-Tank is never wrong.

THINK-TANK : Therefore, I order you to listen to them.

OMEGA : Listen to them?

IOTA AND OOP : (to each other, puzzled) Listen to them?

THINK-TANK : Do you have marbles in your ears? I said, listen to them. (Martians bow very low.)

OMEGA : It shall be done, sir. (They each take two books from the case, and hold them to their ears, listening intently.)

IOTA : (whispering to Omega) Do you hear anything?

OMEGA : (whispering back) Nothing. Do you hear anything, Oop?

OOP : (loudly) Not a thing! (Omega and Iota jump in fright.)

OMEGA AND IOTA : Sh-h-h! (They listen intently again.)

THINK-TANK : Well? Well? Report to me. What do you hear?

OMEGA : Nothing, sir. Perhaps we are not on the correct frequency.

IOTA : Nothing, sir. Perhaps the Earthlings have sharper ears than we do.

OOP : I don’t hear a thing. Maybe these sandwiches don’t : make sounds.

THINK-TANK : What? Does somebody suggest the Mighty Think-Tank has made a mistake?

OMEGA : Oh, no, sir; no, sir. We’ll keep listening.

NOODLE : Please excuse me, your Brilliance, but a cloudy piece of information is twirling around in my head.

THINK-TANK : Well, twirl it out, Noodle, and I will clarify it for you.

NOODLE : I seem to recall that the Earthlings did not listen to the sandwiches; they opened them and watched them.

THINK-TANK : Yes, that is quite correct, I will clarify that for you, Captain Omega. Those sandwiches are not for ear communication, they are for eye communication. Now, Captain Omega, take that large, colourful sandwich over there. It appears to be important. Tell me what you observe. (Omega picks up a very large volume of Mother Goose, holding it so that the audience can see the title. Iota looks over her left shoulder, and Oop peers over her right shoulder.)

OMEGA : It appears to contain pictures of Earthlings.

IOTA : There seems to be some sort of code.

THINK-TANK : (sharply interested) Code? I told you this was important. Describe the code.

OOP : It’s little lines and squiggles and dots — thousands of them alongside the pictures.

THINK-TANK : Perhaps the Earthlings are not as primitive as we have thought. We must break the code. NOODLE : Forgive me, your Cleverness, but did not the chemical department give our space people vitamins to increase their intelligence?

THINK-TANK : Stop! A thought of magnificent brilliance has come to me. Space people, our chemical department has given you vitamins to increase your intelligence. Take them immediately and then watch the sandwich. The meaning of the code will slowly unfold before you.

OMEGA : It shall be done, sir. Remove vitamins. (Crew takes vitamins from boxes on their belts.) Present vitamins. (They hold vitamins out in front of them, stiffly.) Swallow vitamins. (They pop the vitamins into their mouths and gulp simultaneously. They open their eyes wide, their heads shake, and they put their hands to their foreheads.)

THINK-TANK : Excellent. Now, decipher that code. ALL : It shall be done, sir. (They frown over the book, turning pages.)

OMEGA : (brightly) Aha!

IOTA : (brightly) Oho!

OOP : (bursting into laughter) Ha, ha, ha.

THINK-TANK : What does it say? Tell me this instant. Transcribe, Omega.

OMEGA : Yes, sir. (She reads with great seriousness.) Mistress Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With cockle shells and silver bells And pretty maids all in a row.

OOP : Ha, ha, ha. Imagine that. Pretty maids growing in a garden.

THINK-TANK : (alarmed) Stop! This is no time for levity. Don’t you realise the seriousness of this discovery? The Earthlings have discovered how to combine agriculture and mining. They can actually grow crops of rare metals such as silver. And cockle shells. They can grow high explosives, too. Noodle, contact our invasion fleet.

NOODLE : They are ready to go down and take over Earth, sir.

THINK-TANK : Tell them to hold. Tell them new information has come to us about Earth. Iota, transcribe. IOTA : Yes, sir. (She reads very gravely.) Hey diddle diddle! The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon, The little dog laughed to see such sport, And the dish ran away with the spoon.

OOP : (laughing) The dish ran away with the spoon!

THINK-TANK : Cease laughter. Desist. This is more and more alarming. The Earthlings have reached a high level of civilisation. Didn’t you hear? They have taught their domesticated animals musical culture and space techniques. Even their dogs have a sense of humour. Why, at this very moment, they may be launching an interplanetary attack of millions of cows! Notify the invasion fleet. No invasion today Oop, transcribe the next code.

OOP : Yes, sir. (reading) Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again. Oh, look, sir. Here’s a picture of Humpty Dumpty. Why, sir, he looks like — he looks like — (turns large picture of Humpty Dumpty towards Think-Tank and the audience)

THINK-TANK : (screaming and holding his head) It’s me! It’s my Great and Mighty Balloon Brain. The Earthlings have seen me, and they’re after me. “Had a great fall!” — That means they plan to capture Mars Central Control and me! It’s an invasion of Mars! Noodle, prepare a space capsule for me. I must escape without delay. Space people, you must leave Earth at once, but be sure to remove all traces of your visit. The Earthlings must not know that I know. (Omega, Iota, and Oop rush about, putting books back on shelves.)

NOODLE : Where shall we go, sir?

THINK-TANK : A hundred million miles away from Mars. Order the invasion fleet to evacuate the entire planet of Mars. We are heading for Alpha Centauri, a hundred million miles away. (Omega, Iota, and Oop run off right as Noodle helps Think-Tank off left and the curtain closes. Spotlight shines on Historian down right.)

HISTORIAN : (chuckling) And that’s how one dusty old book of nursery rhymes saved the world from a Martian invasion. As you all know, in the twenty-fifth century, five hundred years after all this happened, we Earthlings resumed contact with Mars, and we even became very friendly with the Martians. By that time, Great and Mighty Think-Tank had been replaced by a very clever Martian — the wise and wonderful Noodle! Oh, yes, we taught the Martians the difference between sandwiches and books. We taught them how to read, too, and we established a model library in their capital city of Marsopolis. But as you might expect, there is still one book that the Martians can never bring themselves to read. You’ve guessed it — Mother Goose! (She bows and exits right.)

CURTAIN

The Book That Saved The Earth Summary

History Talks about a Book that Saved Earth

It is the 25th century. The scene is set at the Museum of Ancient History. The department is that of 20th century. Historian tells the people that  20th century was called the Era of the Book. There were books on everything. They covered all aspects of life. She tells that Martians ( people of Mars) decided to invade Earth in  2040. Everyone was surprised to know that it was a book that saved the Earth. She turns on the projector and shows how it all happened.

Think-Tank Orders the Invasion of Earth

The ruler of Mars, the Mighty Think-Tank is a proud creature whose head is full of himself. He calls Earth  a ridiculous planet. He commands his trainee Noodle to call the space probe that is invading the Earth.

Space Probe Lands in Centerville Public Library

The space probe finds itself in a Centerville Public library. They are puzzled. They are not familiar with books. They do not understand what are those thousands of objects.

Guesses made by Martians about the Books

Sergeant Oop thinks that the books are hats. But Think-Tank calls them sandwiches and orders the crew to eat them. The wise Noodle gently suggests that they may be devices of communication. Think-Tank asks the probe to listen to them. They do not hear anything. Again, Noodle very politely suggests that earthlings watched them. They cannot read the books and come to a conclusion that the printed lines and pictures must be some kind of code.

Think-Tank Commands the Team to Take Vitamins

Think-Tank asks the probe to eat the vitamins given to them. They follow him and are able to read the book. The lines are about Mistress Mary and her garden of cockle shells and silver bells.

Mighty Think-Tank is Alarmed

Think-Tank thinks that the earthlings were very advanced. They grew shells and silver. They had taught animals culture and music. He thought they were about to send cows for an invasion to the moon. He is further terrified when he is sent the picture of the fallen Humpty-Dumpty. He thinks it to be his picture.

Think-Tank Calls Off the Invasion

He cancels the invasion. He asks his probe to leave. He orders his fleet to escape to the star Alpha Centauri and evacuate Mars. He wants to be as far as possible from earthlings.

 Martians and Earthlings are Friends in Twenty Fifth Century

The historian reveals that it was ‘Mother Goose’, a book of rhymes, that saved the Earth. Anyway Noodle succeeded Think-Tank and became the head of Mars. Mars and Earth were now friends. Earthlings had even set up a library in their capital, Marsopolis. Funnily, however Martians could never gather the courage to read the ‘Mother Goose’ book.

Chapter Sketch

‘The Book that Saved the Earth’ by Claire Boiko is set in the 25th century. It is a humorous tale of how a book of nursery rhymes saves Earth from an invasion by Martians.

About the Characters

Historian: He is a member of the Museum of Ancient History and the Department of the 20th century.

Think-Tank: He is the commander in chief of the Martian forces and prepare to invade Earth.

Noodle: He is a trainee under Think-Tank. He is a sensible and level headed figure.

Captain Omega, Lieutenant Lota, Sergeant Oop: They are the crew of probe one. They are sent to Earth to know about Earth before invading it.

Chapter Highlights

  1. The Historian welcomes visitors to the Museum of Ancient History in 25th century.
  2. She informs them how a book saved the Earth from a Martian invasion in 2040.
  3. In 2040 the ruler of Mars orders the invasion of Earth.
  4. Think-Tank, the ruler sends a probe to Earth.
  5. The probe team reaches the library but are puzzled to see books. They make guesses. One of them calls them hats.
  6. Think-Tank very proudly calls them sandwiches and orders his crew to eat them.
  7. The trainee under Think-Tank, Noodle, points out that they may be used for communication.
  8. Think-Tank orders them to listen to the communication devices (book).
  9. When they can’t hear anything, Noodle says that Earthlings watch them.
  10. Think-Tank asks his crew to watch them. But they cannot understand the pictures or the lines of writing
  11. They are ordered to eat vitamins that were given to them and decode the lines of writing.
  12. After consuming vitamins, the crew is able to read nursery rhymes and words like ‘shell, silver, dog-laughing, cow- jumped over the moon etc.
  13. Think-Tank assumes that earthlings where a very advanced civilization.
  14. Think-Tank is further terrified when he sees the picture of Humpty-Dumpty. He assumes that earthlings were planning to capture him by invading Mars.
  15. He orders the Martian fleet to evacuate Mars and he decides to flee to the stars Alpha Centauri to escape from earthlings.
  16. In the 25th century, the Historian says that the people of Earth and Martians are friends. Earthlings have established a library in the Martian capital of Marsopolis.

Word Meanings

historian: an expert in history

easel: wooden frame to support a blackboard or picture

era: age, period of time

zulus: ethnic group of people belonging to South Africa

apprentice: trainee

peevishly : feeling or showing irritation

intellectually: possessing or showing intellect

primitive : very ancient/basic or unsophisticated

riffling: turning pages of a book quickly and casually

crew : a group of people who operate a ship, aircraft etc

barn: large farm building used for storing hay/ grain

haberdashery: shop which sells clothing, small articles of dress.pins, cotton etc.

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Read and Find Out

1.Why was the 20th century called the ‘Era of the Book’?

Answer: There were books for everything, from anteaters to Zulus. Books taught people what to do, how to do, when to do and why to do. They explained, educated, directed and decorated. No wonder that it was called the era of books.

2. Who tried to invent the earth in the 21st century?

Answer: Martians tried to invade the earth in the 21st century.

3. What guesses are made by Think-Tank about the books found on earth?

Answer: Think-Tank first guesses them to be sandwiches. Then he calls them communication devices. After that he thinks them to be some kind of eye communication devices that have to be watched.

Think About It

1. Noodle avoids offending Think-Tank but at the same time he corrects his mistakes. How does he manage to do that?

Answer: Noodle avoids offending Think-Tank while correcting his mistakes by presenting his own thoughts, but referring to them as being of no particular importance. Whenever he had to say something contrary to what Think-Tank said, he would do this. In this way he would correct Think-Tank’s errors without making Think-Tank feel that he was being corrected.

2. If you were in Noodle’s place, how would you handle Think-Tank’s mistakes?

Answer: If I were in his place I would have done the same. I would have politely and gently suggested the correction.

3. Do you think books are being replaced by the electronic media? Can we do away with books altogether?

Answer: Yes, these days online reading has replaced traditional books to a large extent. Internet, facebook, twitter etc, have decreased interest in reading. But the truth is that books cannot be totally replaced. Books can never go out of life also they may exist in a different form.

4. Why are books referred to as a man’s best companion? Which is your favourite book and why? Write a paragraph about the book.

Answer: A book is a man’s best companion because it is always there. It never leaves us alone. It is there with us even when everyone else is gone. Books guide us, instruct us, make us laugh, inform us, inspire us and are always true to us. My favourite book is Peter Pan. It is a fairy tale. I love the character of Peter. He lives in fantasies. He is a child who never wants to grow up and never does. He enjoys thrills and adventures and even takes the kids from Earth on a merry adventure. The book inspires as it shows that one can remain a child at heart forever. The sense of wonder, innocence, purity and joy and a capacity to dream can stay in the human heart forever.

Talk About It

1. In what ways does Think-Tank misinterpret innocent nursery rhymes as threats to the Martians? Can you think of any incident where you misinterpreted a word or an action? How did you resolve the misunderstanding?

Answer: The words like ‘shell’, ‘silver’ make Think-Tank think that humans grew them in farms. Then, there is a line about ‘cow’ and ‘moon’. Also, the picture of Humpty-Dumpty and the rhyme of ‘great fall’ make Think-Tank think that humans were about to invade Mars. Yes, I had a similar misunderstanding with a friend. But, I was fortunate and I got to know the actual truth just in time. I did not believe what I had heard earlier.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Read the following extracts and choose the correct option.

Noodle: (bowing) O Great and Mighty Think-Tank, most powerful and intelligent creature in the whole universe, what are your orders?

Think-Tank: (peevishly) You left out part of my salutation, Apprentice Noodle. Go over the whole thing again.

(i) Who is Noodle?

(a) She is the boss of Think-Tank.

(b) She is the apprentice of Think-Tank

(c) She is the colleague of Think-Tank

(d) She is an acquaintance of Think-Tank

(ii) What does the extract reveal about Think-Tank?

(a) It reveals that Think-Tank is very humble

(b) It reveals that Think-Tank is vain and egoistic

(c) It reveals that Think-Tank is a slow learner

(d) It reveals that Think-Tank is very powerful

(iii) Find a word from the extract which means ‘feeling or showing irritation’.

(a) Salutation

(b) Apprentice

(c) Peevishly

(d) Annoyingly

(iv) What is the opposite of ‘powerful’?

(a) Nimble

(b)Week

(c) Weak

(d) Fabulous

Answer: (i) (b) She is the apprentice of Think-Tank

(ii) (b) It reveals that Think-Tank is vain and egoistic

(iii) (c) Peevishly

(iv) (c) Weak

2. Iota:  I can’t figure it out, Captain (holding up a book) I have counted two thousand of these peculiar items. This must be some sort of storage barn.

(i) Why could Iota cannot figure out the book?

(a) Because he had never seen such a place before

(b) Because he was blind

(c) Because it was dark

(d) Because he had never seen a book before

(ii) Where was Iota?

(a) At a theatre on Earth

(b) At a shopping mall on Earth

(c) At a library on Earth

(d) At a hospital on Earth

(iii) Find the opposite meaning word of the word ‘ordinary’ in the extract.

(a) Strange

(b) Odd

(c) Peculiar

(d) Barn

(iv) What part of speech is ‘peculiar’ used in the extract?

(a) Adjective

(b) Adverb

(c) Verb

(d) Pronoun

Answer: (i) (d) Because he had never seen a book before

(ii) (c) At a library on Earth

(iii) (c) Peculiar

(iv) (a) Adjective

3. Think-Tank: It can’t be worth much, but go ahead. Give us your trifling bit of data.

(i) Who was Think-Tank addressing?

(a) Omega

(b). Oop

(c) Noodle

(d) Iota

(ii) What was the data?

(a) That the earthlings ate those sandwiches

(b) That the earthlings did not eat those sandwiches. They used them for communication.

(c) That the earthlings did not eat those sandwiches. They gave them to Martians

(d) That the earthlings did not eat those cookies. They use them as fans.

(iii) Find the word in the extract which has the same meaning as ‘insignificant’.

(a) Small

(b) Worth

(c) Minute

(d) Trifling

(iv) Which part of speech is it as used in the extract?

(a) Pronoun

(b) Noun

(c) Article

(d) Verb

Answer: (i) (c) Noodle

(ii) (b) That the earthlings did not eat the sandwiches. They use them for communication

(iii) (b) Worth

(iv) (a) Pronoun

3. Historian (chuckling) And that’s how one dusty old book of nursery rhymes saved the world from a Martian invasion.

(i) What was the name of the book?

(a) The book that saved the Earth

(b) Mother geese

(c) Father goose

(d) Mother Goose

(ii) Why did the Historian chuckle?

(a) He chuckled at the idea that Think-Tank was going mad

(b) He chuckled at the idea that the interpretation of a book saved the Earth

(c) He chuckled at the idea that the Martians saved the Earth

(d) He chuckled at the idea that the misinterpretation of a book saved the Earth

(iii) Which word in the extract has the same meaning as ‘conquest’?

(a) Invasion

(b) Defeat

(c) Martian

(d) Crushing

(iv) Which part of speech is ‘And’ as used in the extract?

(a) Conjunction

(b) Preposition

(c) Article

(d) Noun

Answer: (i) (d) Mother Goose

(ii) (d) He chuckled at the idea that the misinterpretation of a book saved the Earth

(iii) (a) Invasion

(iv) (a) Conjunction

Short Questions and Answers

1. What difficulty do the crew of the space probe face on Earth?

Answer: The space probe lands in a public library. The crew is shocked because the place looked very strange as they had no idea of books. They think the library to be some kind of storage barn. They are puzzled (confused) as they are not familiar with books.

2. How does Think-Tank think tank explain the books to his probe crew?

Answer: Think-Tank told his crew that the books were sandwiches. He even ordered his crew to eat them. Then, he called them communication devices and later he said that they were meant for watching. Think-Tank also asked the probe crew to listen to them.

3. Why do the space probe crew take vitamins?

Answer: Think-Tank wanted the probe to find out what was in the books. So, the probe crew take vitamins to increase their intelligence. They are able to read books after taking those vitamins. The book was ‘Mother Goose’ and the lines were about Mistress Mary and her garden of cockle shells and silver bells.

4. What is Think-Tank’s interpretation of words like ‘shells’, ‘silver bells’ and ‘garden’ from the nursery rhyme? What is its impact?

Answer: Think-Tank interprets the given words to mean that the earthlings grew shells and silver in their gardens. This caused him to withhold their planned invasion of Earth as he felt that Earth was more advanced than Mars. As they had taught animals culture and music.

5. Think-Tank thinks that Earthlings are after him. What is the reason?

Answer: Think-Tank crew read about Humpty-Dumpty’s fall in the rhyme and showed the picture to Think-Tank. Think-Tank’s head resembled that of Humpty-Dumpty. This makes Think-Tank feel that earthlings were planning to invade Mars and capture him.

6. Describe Think-Tank in your own words.

Answer:  Think-Tank is the ruler of the planet Mars. His head is huge and egg-shaped. He wears a robe decorated with stars in circles. He is very proud of his Intelligence and might. But he is terrified when he is sent a picture of Humpty-Dumpty on Earth.

7. How did one old book of nursery rhymes save the Earth from a Martian invasion? or How did a book change Think-Tanks opinion about the Earthlings?

Answer: This book is totally misunderstood by the Martians. The Martians thought that earthlings were planning to invade Mars. So, they cancelled their invasion of Earth and went back. Think-Tank totally misunderstands the book. Phrases like ‘shell’, ‘silver’, ‘garden’ gave him a false idea that earthlings grew silver and weapons. He starts thinking that earthlings are very advanced technologically.

Long Questions and Answers

1. Noodle hails Think-Tank as the most powerful and intelligent creature in the whole universe. Do you agree? Write your opinion of Think-Tank citing instances from the given text.

Answer: Noodle is a trainee under Think-Tank. He bows before him and hails his ruler as the most powerful and intelligent creature in the universe. However, Think-Tank is not really intelligent. He misinterprets the nursery rhymes completely. ‘Silver’, ‘shells’ and ‘garden’ for him mean that the earthlings are growing metals in farms.

He thinks books to be sandwiches and wants the crew to eat them. When he is read out the nursery rhyme which says ‘Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall’ he is terrified and plans his escape from Mars. Thus Think-Tank is nothing more than a show off and a pompous fool. So, later on Noodle succeeds Think-Tank and becomes the ruler of Mars and becomes friends with Earth.

2. Compare and contrast the characters of Noodle and Think-Tank.

Answer: Noodle and Think-Tank have contrasting characters. Think-Tank likes to be called the ‘Great and the Mighty’. He orders and commands. He is the ruler of Mars but has no intelligence. He thinks books to be sandwiches. He is a wrong about everything. He demands that the crew obey him. He likes to pass on other’s ideas as his own. He is a coward who simply boasts about his power. Noodle, his apprentice, is very clever and wise. He corrects the mistakes of the ruler (Think-Tank) very gently. He never takes credit for his ideas. But he offers them to the ruler very gently. Think-Tank makes them as his own.

When Noodle succeeds Think-Tank and becomes the head of Mars, he becomes friend with earthlings. While Think-Tank was afraid of earthlings, Noodle allows earthlings to set up a library there. So they are poles apart to each other.

3. The play, ‘The Book That Saved the Earth’ conveys the message that misunderstanding of cultural differences between various races can cause confusion and conflict. Based on your reading of the play, write how such confusion and conflicts can be checked so that peace and harmony is maintained.

Answer: The confusion in the mind of Think-Tank occurred due to the literal interpretation of the nursery rhymes in the book ‘Mother Goose’. To ensure that conflicts are checked so that peace and harmony are maintained cultural differences should be sorted out by initially sending mature and wise people from one culture to the other to establish contact before deciding to wage war.

Think-Tank had sent an initial probe, but the crew members of the probe were not sufficiently intelligent or mature to understand Earth’s culture. That is why they literally interpreted the nursery rhymes and caused misunderstanding the mind of Think-Tank.

He even called the books, sandwiches and ordered probe to eat them. And when Noodle wisely said that it might be the medium of communication, he asked them to listen them. This shows that Martians were not aware of earthlings culture, which made them puzzled and frightened. Only by spreading awareness and peace, one can think of checking these kinds of conflicts between various races. They have to respect others and their culture as well to behave like friends.