The Bottom Line
- Great scientific descriptions included throughout the book, especially of planets and other objects.
- Discusses the ethical aspects of science and its responsible use.
- A wonderful explanation of why science is so important in our society.
- The story is written very well for a young audience, with accessible characters, prose, and events.
- Many of the characters - such as the villains - are pretty stereotypical.
- The plot is driven by impossible technology which may confuse some readers in understanding science.
- The prose and story are not particularly compelling for sophisticated readers.
- Review based on the 2007 hardback edition. Also available in paperback and audiobook.
- 296 pages long, with many colorful photographs and pages of information about planets and other astronomical objects.
- Co-written by one of the biggest names in physics, Stephen Hawking
- The sequel George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt is also available.
Guide Review - George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
George's Secret Key to the Universe is not one of those great works of literature. The storyline is fairly contrived and the writing itself isn't even that compelling. It's not bad, not at all. In fact, it's good ... but it's not great. And if you're an adult reading a kid's book, you should be reading a great kid's book.
The book, of course, is written for kids, so the fact that it's not recommended for adults is hardly much of a complaint. For kids, this book can make science interesting while it teaches them fun and interesting facts about astronomical objects.
The main character of the book is George Greenby, who discovers that his next door neighbor is a pleasant scientist named Eric. Together with Eric's daughter (Annie) and the world's most powerful computer (Cosmos), they explore the universe. And, of course, there is a villain, who seeks to use science and technology for his own gain.
Scientific ethics is boldly addressed, in the form of the Oath of the Scientist. The resolution involves a good explanation of why science is so important in our society, which is a lesson that all children should be exposed to. If your children do read it, it provides an excellent platform for introducing - and then discussing - these concepts.