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George's Secret Key to the Universe (George #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,285 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George's parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2007)
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Emmiem The neighbours are Annie and Eric. Eric is a scientist.
Constance Lee
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy HawkingThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankIf You Lived Here by Giles LarocheBalloons Over Broadway by Melissa SweetSnowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Best Children's Nonfiction
1st out of 214 books — 59 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingEclipse by Stephenie MeyerThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussCity of Bones by Cassandra ClareA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Best Books of 2007
206th out of 627 books — 692 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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John
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: children-ya
Wow, what a disappointment. Hawking stoops (in both the avian and, to judge from the result, aristocratic senses of the word) to conquer a young audience, and lands hard on his beak.

This SF tale is festooned with science lessons, and is plainly intended to convince young readers of the importance of knowing the laws of physics--yet those laws are blown off over and over as the story goes along. Furthermore, there are these huge gaps in internal logic--for instance, young George's parents are suc
...more
Kewpie
This book will teach the budding elementary school aged geek some of the newest theories about black holes. It will teach adults about Stephen Hawking's playful mind and sense of humor.

This book was written for those pre-geek second and third graders who read all the astronomy books in the j520 section of the library and then pester their parents, teachers and school librarians about the big bang, black holes, comets and life on other planets. I've done stints in elementary school libraries and
...more
Serena ☼
L'unico libro che mi ha fatto amare la Fisica ...more
Laura
This is a banal and rudimentary story that shamelessly exploits Stephen Hawking’s reputation in order to increase sales. It tells the story of a young boy from an anti-technology family who goes on a wild ride through the universe with help of his neighbour’s supercomputer. This whole book is excessively didactic. The whole point seems to be to ram it down readers’ throats that science is wonderful and people who oppose technology are ignorant fools. The portrayal of the anti-science family is w ...more
Amanda
I really thought this one was terrible. The science was interesting, but too much like science fiction, so that it seemed like fantasy. The writing was good enough, but some of the themes were disturbing. I think the ending was supposed to be a coming-together of all the different factions, but it message of the book seemed to be that environmentalists are against all technology and innovation, and that it’s okay if we destroy this planet because science can find us a new one.

I would love someon
...more
Thom
An average story where the boy learns something and saves the world. The science is decent (I would hope so) and plot is okay. The villain is evil and the protagonists good, though that uber-computer Cosmos is a bit over-the-top. Color photos were nice, but the sidebars (on facts, planets and other relevant bits of information) definitely got in the way. They would have been better collected into an appendix or glossary that could be referred to when necessary. Read with daughter (11) and I felt ...more
Qt
Pleasant adventure, with lots of humor and scientific information. I loved the actual photos of astronomical objects, and also the cute illustrations.
Tony
Lucy Hawking is a great speaker. I managed to attend a talk by her that was aimed at children 8-12 but was interesting for an adult as well. It is not easy to boil the immense ideas of physics and the nature of the universe down in to chunks that children can understand. After listening to Lucy Hawking speak I went straight out and bought this book. I have spent a couple of weeks readying a couple of chapters a night to my five year old boy. The fiction part of this this book is simple enough fo ...more
Paloma
What an easy way to study science in a intresting book. During the reading I learned things that I never thought would. Educational science was the principal idea of Lucy and Stephen the authors of this book. We should take care of our planet because if we dont it will be better difficult for us humans to find another place to leave. George secret key to the universe is a book that helps us reflect in our actions towards our planet. A lot of information is being transmitted to us thanks to the ...more
Steve Rogers
When his pet pig disappears into his neighbor's garden, George stumbles into a house that has supposedly been abandoned for years. He soon discovers that there are in fact people living there called Eric and his daughter, Annie, who are both obsessed with science. George is unaware that this new friendship with these mysterious occupants will soon change his life forever, as he begins a journey that will take him across the universe and back again.

Eric has a computer called Cosmos. Cosmos is the
...more
Krista
The adventures of George as he explores the universe with an unlikely computer named Cosmos; science lessons included.

I'm on the fence about this book. Plainly, it is meant to clothe the miracle of physics into language that children can understand but the laws of physics themselves are blown off at almost every plot point.

Then there's the part where a person gets sucked into a black hole but the super-computer speeds up time and sucks him back out again, putting him back together, particle by p
...more
Lara
I probably only liked this book 2-stars worth, but Hugh Dancy's reading ups it by a star, because that, at least, was pretty great. At the beginning, I loved this. It had a real fairy-tail-like quality to it, and it actually seemed very smart and funny. Only once we got to Eric's house, things quickly deteriorated. For me, at least. I found the lecture aspects of the dialogue really irritating, and the whole idea of Cosmos, this magical computer that can send you into outer space, a little too c ...more
Tina
So the bf does physics and astrophysics at uni and he talks science. I am quite bad at science and there was no one happier than me when I did my last science class at uni, so when I saw this book I thought 'Stephen Hawking, yukky sciency stuff in junior novel form? This should be fun' Now I know a tiny tiny bit about planets and stars (The magic school bus was probably the first one to explain it in a way I understood when I was little and I took a cosmology class at uni and I didn't do so terr ...more
Lisa the Librarian
Jan 24, 2009 Lisa the Librarian rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kids interested in science and/or space
Co-written by renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, author, Lucy Hawking. The story is a fun adventure that explores the vastness of space and explores our solar system along with the daily drama of middle school.

I have mixed feelings about the portions of the book that were obviously contributed by Stephen. The facts were interesting and informative and helped the understanding of the universe. BUT the layout was a bit distracting. (Like those side bars and fact boxe
...more
Kristy
My 7-year-old really liked this chapter book. It's by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, and although it's fiction, it includes pages of data and full-color photos and images of space. It's a fun story. The writing is not the best I've read. Bits of the story annoy me. The sets of parents in the book are basically ridiculed for their different styles of parenting and the characters are pretty flat. BUT, it's still a good read for this age and has my child begging for more from STEPHEN HAWKING. So it's a ...more
Courtney
Mrs. Frizzle meets Sherman and Peabody; this title provided a vast amount of scientific information regarding space topics. With great actual pictures of space, it's perfect for 3-5th graders interested in the universe. I personally did not care for the writing style, often finding myself questioning the plot and character development.
Pop Bop
As Advertised - Engaging Characters, Decent Plot, Real Science

Remember the 1950's TV show "Watch Mr. Wizard"? Kids visited Mr. Wizard in his home lab and he demonstrated various scientific principles and the science behind ordinary objects. It was great educational TV, it had millions of viewers and associated Mr. Wizard science clubs, it gave rise to the tag line "Gee, Mr. Wizard!", and it probably inspired the Professor Proton character so dear to Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory". But,
...more
Maxim Koretsky
Jan 12, 2015 Maxim Koretsky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in science, kids
In the book Georges Secret Key to the Universe, George Greenbly is a determined young boy who loves science, space and the Cosmos. He joins the Order of Scientific Inquiry for the Good of Humanity or, the O.S.I.G.H where he learns a lot about the sun and other stars. George embarks on adventures that teach him valuable lessons and science skills.
George's Secret Key to the Universe was written by Stephen Hawking's daughter Lucy Hawking and is meant more for young readers who would have trouble u
...more
Anna Koumara
4,5 stars for this book, that I am actually professionally interested in it, and not read it just for fun.
We all know who Stephen Hawking is, he is known for his popular science books (like the Brief History of Time), but this actually a children's novel.
I think that these kind of books may bring more kids to science and make them want to follow science and engineering courses in college.
So, the heroes are George and Anna, two kids who are totally interested in the secrets of the Universe, as t
...more
Laura
My mom sent this book to my son a few years ago, and as is true with most books recommended to him, he ignored it. (He's an avid reader, but only if he chooses the book himself.)

It was recently recommended to me by thoughtful booksellers at our local indie children's bookstore when I asked them for a good fiction book on space. Judging it by the fact that it needs to be accurate about space, and that it might be engaging to readers of a wide age range, this book is a clear winner. It does exact
...more
Jimmy
A great book for kids to open doors to the world of science, astronomy, and physics.

I have always had a great fascination for all things science, and to see them come alive in George's Secret Key to the Universe, it's all that more interesting. Granted, this is a children's book, for perhaps the middle grade level. It would be a great companion book to read when students are studying the concepts of astronomy in their science classes, but it's also a great book for any kid that's interested in t
...more
Aaveg Mishra
The brilliant mastermind and astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking combine to make a book that can capture the attention of many young readers. This book George’s Secret Key to the Universe conveys a lot of information of the many things in the vast universe that stretches beyond our naked eyes. This work of scientific fiction is written in a way that would be easy to read, and provides a mystery in the background of the story.
The story is about a boy whose parents are n
...more
Kyra
When I went to the library the other day, I saw this book sitting on the middle-grade shelf. I still remember getting a few sample chapters of this book in England in a magazine, yet I never got around to reading it. As I am obsessed with physics and learning about space, I thought this would be a good book to read and I can safely say I absolutely adored it!

George's Secret Key to the Universe is about George, a little boy who is the son of two eco-friendly, planet saving activists who think sci
...more
Gabe Fantacone
George’s Secret Key to the Universe is a very good recommendation for young readers who want to learn more about science and how it works. The author’s writing reminds me of the time in fifth grade when some scientists from Cal came to our class and gave a lecture about biology. It was easy to understand and very interesting, just like this book. However, one weakness about this book is that one part of the book is very scientifically inaccurate. It’s impossible to open a portal into space! The ...more
Agatha
Recommended! Kind of like the Magic Tree House books, but it teaches science and outer space, instead of history or biographies. Both my 6yo daughter and I found it very interesting, compelling, and readable! (I read it out loud to her.)

George and his parents live in England and his parents are very into saving the Earth and eschewing technology. They have told him to stay out of the backyard of the house next door, which, apparently, is abandoned. The previous owner, an old man, went mysteriou
...more
Victor Alinas
It was a good story with many adventures in space,talked a lot in science,and had some humor in it.I gave it a 3/5 because even though it was pretty good the book had plenty of weird stuff like how George's parents don't have a phone,computer or television because nothing is wrong using energy in the house.My favorite part of the book was when George's pig gets lost into the his neighbors house and when George finds him he thinks the grape juice that his pig was eating was poison so he threw the ...more
Carla Cove
Great book! I read this when our eldest son was 8yo and he still remembers much of the science he learned from it. I just finished reading this book to our 5yo and he was forever begging for the next chapter and telling all his friends about the story!! Very engaging and wonderful ideas generator.
Mary
I listened to this on audiobook. I gave 3 stars for the story but 5 stars for the narration. Good introduction to science fiction for elementary school age. Uncomplicated plot, not scary. This is also good to offer to young scientists, and it would be a good family audiobook...if the family is interested in physics.

Hawking introduces concepts like black holes and basic physics throughout the book. Although these are woven into the storyline (George's neighbor is a scientist, George is working o
...more
Rajan
Nov 24, 2014 Rajan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: To the school kids mostly.
A great book written in simple, lucid language. It really allows the high school teens understand their universe in a entirely different way from that of boring school lectures. The books somehow also has tried the bridge a gap between two neighbors from entirely different way of living. Yet it also gives a important message, "don't lose hope in any of the most difficult situation, because there's a way around it, you just need to find it there." This was shown by George, when he finally gives i ...more
Caity
This is a great book for younger readers as it combines a cool science fiction story with science facts and pictures. This is a cool book for kids who already love learning about space and also great for kids who want to learn about space but prefer to read fiction. The combination of fiction and fact keeps the book entertaining for kids who don't want to read a text book style book. The story is about a young boy George who discovers his neighbors have an awesome computer that can show him all ...more
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Lucy Hawking is a novelist who has also written several children's books in collaboration with her father, physicist Stephen W. Hawking.
More about Lucy Hawking...

Other Books in the Series

George (4 books)
  • George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
  • George and the Big Bang
  • George and the Unbreakable Code
George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt George and the Big Bang George and the Unbreakable Code The Accidental Marathon Jaded

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