George's Secret Key to the Universe

Stephen Hawking, Author, Lucy Hawking, Author, Garry Parsons, Illustrator with Christophe Galfard, illus. by Garry Parsons. S&S $17.99 (297p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5462-0

What better way to interest young readers in science—and specifically in its relevance to the long-term survival of humankind—than for one of the world's most renowned theoretical physicists to put his subject at the center of a children's book? Stephen Hawking, his novelist daughter, and French physicist Galfard create two inquisitive, middle-school heroes, then send them on wondrous adventures through time and space. The characters round out their experiences with information regarding everything from nuclear fusion reactions to neutron stars to the origin of black holes. In this first volume of a projected trilogy, George Greenby—whose technophobic parents have done their best to shelter him from the dangers of the modern world (computers, television, grape soda, etc.)—meets his headstrong new neighbor Annie, her scientist father and his super-computer Cosmos, a machine capable of instantaneously taking the two young explorers anywhere in the universe. His decidedly naïve worldview undergoes a breathtaking transformation when he gets the opportunity to ride a comet through the solar system and witness the death of a black hole. The authors handily explore a range of themes, among them, the moral responsibilities of science, global warming and space colonization. Four insets of color photos from outer space and Parsons's cartoons enhance the broad appeal of this book, a true beginner's guide to A Brief History of Time . Ages 8-up. (Oct .)

Reviewed on: 10/01/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Children's
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